Iranian teachers continue to call for more nationwide protests despite threats and arrests by security forces. They held rallies in more than 100 cities on Tuesday, February 22. During the protests in Shiraz, southwestern Iran, Iranian teacher Ali Hassan Bahamin was detained after he gave a speech at the gathering. Bahamin is a teacher activist from Yasuj, also in southwestern Iran, and had traveled to Shiraz to take part in the protests. He was released 24 hours after his arrest.
Reports indicate that several other teachers who had taken part in the February 22 protests were detained by security forces despite the peaceful nature of the rallies.
In a letter obtained by Iran News Wire, physics teacher Dr. Ali Hassan Bahamin said he was released thanks to teachers and social media activists. He said the “greatest achievement of the Iranian teachers’ movement was empathy”.
Iranian teachers have held dozens of rallies in the past year to demand that a pending law, the Teacher Ranking bill, that would increase their wages be passed by the Parliament. The bill, proposed 10 years ago, would allow for teachers’ wages to be 80% of those of university professors. The government says it does not have the funding, saying it would only raise their salaries by 20-25%.
During their recent rallies, Iranian teachers chanted against the regime’s new President Ebrahim Raisi calling him a liar for not keeping his promises.
They have been protesting for years for higher pay despite the regime’s suppression. Public school teachers make around 3 million tomans, $100, which puts them under Iran’s 10 million toman line of poverty. Private school teachers make even less. The protesters also want the regime to stop the prosecution of teacher activists and to release detained teachers.