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Iran; Azarab’s Protests, a Sign of 40-Year Failures of Iranian Officials

Azarab’s Protests

A brief examination of the Iranian people’s livelihood situation well shows that the major part of the society lives in heartbreaking conditions. The officials’ mismanagement and plundering, in fact, has divided Iran’s society into two parts.

One part is the ruling elite and their families and relatives, characterized by their luxury homes and cars and mind-blowing assets. And the other part encompasses a huge part of Iran’s population, around 96%, who only struggle to survive and provide the minimum needs of their families.

Workers constitute the major part of this 96% segment of the population. In this regard, Iran's labor community holds most of the protests and demonstrations in various cities in reaction to escalating pressure and hardships they meet day after day.

In this regard, it is worth to mention peaceful protests and rallies by workers of Azarab factory in Arak city, which have continued for 12 consecutive days.

On October 7, Azarab’s employees gathered at the site of the factory to protest about not receiving their delayed paychecks and the status of stockholders remaining in limbo. However, the Iranian authorities dispatched anti-riot forces instead of fulfilling their previous promises of responding to the demands of the workers.

On the same day, the official website of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), Iran’s main opposition movement, reported, “Iranian regime officials dispatched anti-riot units who resorted to attacking and firing tear gas into the workers’ peaceful protests.

“The vicious units of the mullahs’ regime, desperate to prevent the protest from expanding across the city, stormed into Azarab factory parking lot and prevented the person from entering their facilities.

“To prevent any further demonstrations, state security forces took measures to surround the area where the 1,000 Azarab workers were protesting.”

The president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, hailed to the workers of Azarab factory and their resistance against the authorities’ threats and intimidations, saying:

“Hail to the brave workers of Azarab, Arak, who did not succumb to the clerical regime’s threats and intimidations, continuing their protest today. The regime again responded by tear gas, arrests, and beatings. Such oppression will be foiled by the courageous workers’ willpower.”

On October 8, in response to officials’ negligence and vicious suppression, the workers launched a strike and stopped working till resolving their rightful grievances. The continuation of Azarab’s employees raised officials’ concerns. Fearing the expansion of the workers’ protests and strikes, the authorities ordered anti-riot units and state security forces to surround the entire factory complex.

The truth is, unemployment and months-long delays in paying salaries have broken the back of Azarab’s workers. On October 20, the deprived workers stepped further and blocked the Tehran-Ahvaz railway to raise their voice against unfair treatment by the officials. Protesting workers of Azarab factory demand the government to stop denying the basic rights of the employees under the excuse of “privatization,” which forfeited the factory to state-linked groups and abandoned workers unemployed and without payments and even suppressed workers’ peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Regrettably, the reality is Iran’s Ayatollahs neither want nor can resolve the horrible conditions of the Iranian labor community. The Iranian government, in fact, squanders national resources to support fundamentalist and extremist entities in the Middle East rather than spend them on improving the Iranian people’s livelihoods. Under these circumstances, the Iranian workers have to continue their rightful struggle for basic rights. However, achieving the basic rights depends on a basic political change in Iran and toppling the ruling system that has yielded nothing for the Iranian people except poverty, crises, and disasters.

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