ISSN 2330-717X

Iran: Recent Teachers’ Protest Just Tip Of Iceberg Of Discontent – OpEd

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By Hossein Beizayi

The 1979 anti-monarchy revolution in Iran, in the eyes of the majority of the Iranian people, was supposed to be the beginning of a new era for them. The dusk of the Pahlavi dynasty and the dawn of this new era brought an unprecedented unity among the people of Iran, high hopes were set, and future plans were laid out. Khomeini’s deceiving and hollow promises planted much hope and optimism in people’s hearts. By arousing ordinary people’s nationalist and religious likings, he portrayed himself as the man of all cures. Millions of people poured to the streets of Tehran and vicinity to welcome him with open arms and generous hearts.

One did not have to wait too long to realize that Khomeini’s sugar-coated and fancy-looking promises were hollow, fake, deceiving, and pure lies. Different forms of repression, abuses of human rights, obstruction of civil liberties, limitation on women’s wear, and freedom… resurfaced again, this time in the name of religion and order of god. This story has continued to present.

A glance at a teacher’s average pay in Iran

In 2020, the average salary of teachers in Iran was 58 million rials (about $221) per month. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the former head of the Planning and Budget Organization, had already vowed that this salary would increase in the following educational year. However, there has not happened yet. The living conditions of this stratum of society are far from world standards. Months of deprivation of salaries, discrimination, and injustice in adjusting their salaries, deprivation of bonuses and overtime dues, insurance, and treatment are among the issues that make life really difficult for the teachers in Iran. As a result, their concern is focused on their livelihood and that of their families rather than the quality of students’ and adolescents’ education.  With the salaries most teachers receive in Iran, they live below the poverty line, and many of them, especially those with families, are forced to find second and even third jobs to meet their daily needs barely. Consequently, many of them have to work 14 hours or more in order to provide for their families.

“There is no government institution or ministry with such a volume of official arrears,” said Hessamoddin Pour-Sabet, an education official in the northeast province of Razavi Khorasan. “Lack of balance between the salary of teachers and the salary of other ministries’ employees is another concern for teachers’ society. Teachers only want to be seen like other ministries’ employees in the case of financial and livelihood fields,” he added.

Iranian teachers voice concerns

Unresolved demands and the growth of financial dilemmas are other issues that prompt teachers to raise their voices constantly. However, educational officials always deal with teachers’ demands with indifference, driving them to resort to other paths to gain their inherent rights.

The teachers in Iran have staged strike actions, gatherings, and demonstrations throughout Iran to intensify their efforts for their demands. Teachers across Iran held rallies on Thursday, protesting the government and parliament’s refusal to address their needs. Rallies include both active and retired teachers, who have been hit hard by an economic downturn and the regime’s dithering in passing laws and allocating budgets to improve their conditions.

Protests were reported in more than 100 cities, including Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan, Rasht, Sanandaj, Ahvaz, Arak, Karaj, and Kermanshah. Teachers’ rally was held in different cities of Iran, despite the fact that in recent days, security and judicial institutions have summoned some teacher activists and sent text messages to them, trying to threaten them not to hold the rally.

Teachers’ social networks reported that security agents were widely present, especially in Tehran, Shiraz, and Mashhad. “Free all imprisoned teachers,” “Free all political prisoners,” “We have heard too many promises, but no justice,” “Livelihood, dignity are our inalienable right,” “teachers are awake, loathe discrimination,” “teachers cry out, demand your rights,” were the slogans of the teachers.

In many cities, the rallies were held in a peaceful atmosphere while security forces and officials were present to prevent any anti-regime slogans, but some scuffles were also reported in Tehran and Shiraz, where the demos continued to midafternoon.

Regime’s officials always lay the blame on budget deficits. However, the government has refused to pay arrears and other financial demands under the pretext of different baseless excuses. All of this is happening while Iran suffers from a shortage of teachers, educators, and trainers. According to official reports, Iran’s Education Ministry lacks around 200,000 teachers to cover all schools in Iran with a curriculum. Many observers foresee a great crisis within the country’s most significant ministry.

What’s next

One must look for the cause of all these injustices in Iran, a country known for its rich soil and vast natural resources. This search will take you to the apex of these problems, the tyrannical regime in Tehran. There is only one remedy for such pain; regime change.

Iran News Wire

Iran News Wire is home to real news on Iran. We are dedicated to honest and reliable reporting. We aim to be the voice of the Iranian people and their protests for freedom and democracy at a time when the Iranian government wants to silence dissent and suppress their voices for democracy

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