Home News Protests Iran Protests During Persian Calendar Year 1399 (March 2020–2021)

Iran Protests During Persian Calendar Year 1399 (March 2020–2021)

Iran is the country with the highest number of social protests in the Middle East
Iran is the country with the highest number of social protests in the Middle East


During the Iranian calendar year of 1399 (March 2020 until March 2021), Iran witnessed thousands of anti-government protests by all various strata of society across the country.

Throughout the year, despite the unprecedented repression by the regime, despite the catastrophic expansion of the coronavirus in Iran which has taken thousands of victims due to the policies of this regime, various classes of society protested suppression, economic problems, widespread poverty, and the regime’s plundering. At least 4603 protest were held in different cities.

Statistics of these protests by numbers:

The protests of Saravan in the Sistan and Balutchestan province: 24 protests took place.

The Chaharshanbe Suri ceremony: 82 protests took place.

Oil and petroleum workers: 1302 protests were held.

Retirees: 286 protests were held.

Teachers and educational workers: 155 protests were held.

Farmers: 62 protests were held.

Ranchers: 26 protests were held.

Students: 33 protests were held.

Merchants: 22 protests were held.

Plundered creditors: 22 protests were held.

Other strata: 969 protests were held.

Hunger strikes by prisoners: 92 strikes were held.

1. Saravan protest:

On February 22, 2021, fuel porters of the Sistan and Baluchestan province, who routinely used the way of the border point of Askan in Saravan to go to Pakistan and sell fuel, faced the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on their return. The IRGC had blocked this road with a ditch. As a result, the porters gathered in front of the IRGC’s border base naming Shamsar protested and demanded the reopening of this point. Then as usual in this regime, the IRGC forces opened fire on these defenseless people and many of them were killed. This started a chain of protests and strikes in this province.

2. Kuhestak port protests

On March 12, 2021, the port officers in the Kuhestak port fired at the fuel porters of this area, one of them, Mehdi Shah Sun died due to a headshot. Another one naming Rashid Turkman was injured. In protesting this criminality of the regime, the people of Sirik gathered at the Kuhestak Port.

The regime while having the experience of the Saravan protests and fearing its spread opened fire on the protesting people, and many were injured. The angry people in an answer to this crime burnt some of the security forces’ boats.

The Hormozgan Corps immediately sent anti-insurgent officers and auxiliary force from Minab and Sirir to the Kuhestak port. The regime blocked the internet in this region to prevent the spread of the news.

3. Protest of the prisoners

In March 2020 ordinary prisoners, with heavy prison sentences, life imprisonment and execution sentences protested at a time interval from March 19, 2020 to April 1, 2020 in 13 prisons, including prisons in Parsillon Khorramabad, Aligudars prison, Central Tabriz prison, Saqez prison, Alvand Hamedan prison, Great Tehran prison, Mahabad prison, Adel Abad Shiraz prison, Pirbanu prison, Sepidar prison in Ahvaz, Sheyban prison in Ahvaz and the central Yazd prison. This happened because of the regime’s refusal to give them furlough or their freedom due to the spread of the coronavirus in the prisons.

This phenomenon was unprecedented in this regime and surprised them. Several prisoners escaped, and a few prisoners were killed over the brutally, or after their re-arrest they were executed, and a number were wounded.

4. The Chaharshanbe Suri ceremony protests

This year, Chaharshanbe Suri ceremonies were held despite all the efforts of the regime to prevent any crowds. In Tehran and other cities people mostly the youth went on the streets. The regime mobilized all his repressive organs to harness the situation in fear of popular protests and the formation of the uprising.

5. Iranian Workers’ Protests

In 2020-2021, the situation was very difficult for workers. The workers’ wage level was much lower than the poverty line. Their loans were not paid for months. Also, in this process, many workers lost their jobs, while they did not receive their wages for a month. The high costs and the spread of the coronavirus made the situation even worse.

Below are examples of the protests by the workers.

Large strike of oil industry workers: In August 2020, the workers of the oil industry in different cities in protest of the lack of months of salaries and other career benefits, work conditions, lack of minimum safety and welfare facilities, struck in a coordinated action. The start of this strike was by workers of oil and petrochemical industry, and then the power plants joined them. This strike was gradually expanded to 24 cities in 12 provinces and 55 locations.

Municipal workers: Municipal workers are among the most deprived workers. They protested the lack of months of salaries and benefits and expulsion of workers in various cities. In this regard, we can point to the protests of workers in Boroujerd, Rasht, Yasuj, Dezful, Tehran, Sisakhat, Marivan, Masjed Soleiman, Hormuz Island, Alashtar, Ahvaz, Loushan, and Kut Abdollah.

Railway workers strike: Railway workers strike due to the lack of their salaries and job security. In this regard, various cities and areas can be announced, including Golestan, Andimeshk, Mashhad, Zahedan, Karaj, Tabriz, Rafsanjan, Doroud, Robat Karim, Eslamshahr, Tehran, Bandar Abbas, Dameghan, Shahrood, Islamshahr, Mirjaveh, Arak, Zanjan, Nayshapoor, Rasht, Zeyaran, Abik, Hashtgerd, Kordan, Varamin, Garmsar, Pishva, Salmas, Gorgan, Bojnourd, Meshg Abad and Noorabad.

Mining, coal, and iron ore company workers: Mine workers protested their overdue wages and lack of safety at the mines. In this regard, we can point to the protests of the Tarzeh Mine, Gol Ghahr of Sirjan, Songun Mine in Varzaghan, Coal Mine of Babol, Ramsar Coal Mine, Galughah Coal Mine, Sang Nakah Coal Mine, Behshahr Coal Mine, Chalous Coal Mine, Sari Coal Mine, Savadkouh Coal Mine, Noor Coal Mine, Tabas Mine, Mine 3 of Gol-e-Gohar of Kerman, Sarigouni Gold Mine, Amin Yar Faryab Mine, Faryab Chromite Mine, Copper Mine of Chahar Ghonbad, Bituminous Mine of Ivan, Agh Darband Mine of Sarkhes, iron ore mine of Zamin Zarand, Sangroud coal mine, Agh Dareh gold Mine, Asminoun Manoujan Mine, Zinc mine of Gojhar Raver, coal company of Kerman in Raver, coal mine of Kerman in Zarand, Kerman coal mine in Kouhbanan, coal mine of Savadkhouh and iron ore mine of Bafegh.

Workers of refineries and power plants: Workers of refineries and power plants in different companies held protest including: Ramin thermal power plant workers, Second Phase of the Abadan refinery, Urmia Petrochemicals, Marjan Petrochemicals, Rajal Petrochemicals, Orhal Petrochemicals, Foulad of Khoramshahr, North Azadegan oil field, Mehran oil field, Ardabil steel mill, Petrochemical Port Khomeini, Oil and Gas of Ghachsaran, steel of Zarand Iranian, Arvand petrochemicals, Abadan Combined Cycle Power Plant, Vis Electricity, Razi Petrochemicals, Lamard Petrochemicals, Parsian Refinery, Fanavaran Petrochemicals, Mapna company, Bidboland Refinery, South Pars Power Plant in Bidkhoun, Jam Petrochemical Complex, Mapna Company in Kangan, Ilam Petrochemical, Urmia Combined Cycle Power Plant, Takab Co., South Pars Fifth Refinery, Bushehr Petrochemical Company (Site 1), Mahshahr Petroleum Products Company, Company workers of the Nationwide Electricity Distribution and Native Gachsaran Petrochemical workers.

Retirees: Retirees are one of the most vulnerable segments of the society. They have protested due to the low level of retirement pension, which is much lower than the poverty line, not receiving their salary, non-equivalent of salaries with other government employees, not receiving Retirement rewards, and not receiving any premium, gathered over and over in Tehran and other cities.

The retirees in this period took part in at least 286 protests in 40 cities.

Teachers and educational workers: The teachers and educational workers organized 155 protests in 29 cities. The level of their salaries is much lower than the national poverty line. Many of them inevitably accepted a second job. Online classes have imposed more costs on their living, and many other reasons are the bases of their protests.

Farmers: Farmers in this period shaped 62 protest movements in 32 cities. Farmers protested the government’s failure to provide them their right of water, expropriation of their land by the Organization of Endowment, lack of accountability of agricultural jihad organization to farmers’ problems, the catastrophic status of selling agricultural products, lack of purchase of agricultural products by government, not receiving any support for products damaged by floods and many more.

Students: Students held 33 protests in 16 cities in the year that passed. Students’ protests were carried out because of the verbal tests of September, the privatization of the university, the economic and social conditions of the society, the evacuation of student dormitories, the quality of virtual education and protest the killing of the fuel porters in Sistan and Baluchistan.

Ranchers: In 2020-2021, the ranchers held 26 protests in 18 cities. Their protests were due to the price of milk, concentrate, silo, straws, and the cost of transporting, limiting the paddock of their livestock, the usurpation of their pastures by government agencies, low price of the milk and livestock loss due to heat, imports of goods necessary for their livestock with high prices which is controlled by the government and lead them to bankruptcy.

Merchants: Merchants held 24 protests in 18 cities due to the recession, economic and work problems. They protested the lack of accurate implementation of the approvals of the National Coronavirus Taskforce, support of the guilds, closing the market due to the coronavirus and the lack of financial support of the government, the 75-day market closure, the growing parking prices, the closure of the Qeshm customs, market instability and inadequacy of the regime in market control.

Plundered Creditors: Plundered Creditors held at least 22 protests in five cities. Their main request is to be repaid their deposits by banks, financial institutions, and companies that have embezzled their funds.

6. Other segments of society

Other strata held at least 969 protests in 193 cities. The most important protests, in specific categories, are as followed:

Protests of the treatment staff, nurses, doctors: Doctors across the country protested the absence of Coronavirus prevention facilities, short-term contracts, employment status, Non-receipt of arrears, in Tehran, Shiraz, Family Physicians in Fars Province, Emergency Doctors of Izeh, Personnel working in Tehran province treatment centers and addiction therapists, staff and corporate forces of hospitals in Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Gilan, Kurdistan, Kurdistan Khuzestan, Yazd, Arak, Lorestan, Kerman, West Azerbaijan, Fars, Mazandaran, Isfahan, Bushehr, Alborz, East Azarbaijan, Hamadan, Qazvin, Bushehr, Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad, Sistan and Baluchestan, Ahwaz emergency drivers, drivers of Iran Shahr Health Center, Ph.D. Genetics and Laboratory Sciences in Tehran, specialized assistants of different medical disciplines.

Protests of family members of prisoners, executed prisoners and those killed by the regime’s forces:

  • The gathering of mothers, families, and relatives of the 1988 massacre victims in Khavaran cemetery near Tehran.
  • A multi-day protest of the family of prisoners to the lack of leave and release of prisoners and suppression of prisoners in Tehran, Urmia, Ahvaz, Zahedan
  • The gathering of the family members of prisoners in Shaiban prison
  • The gathering of the families of political prisoners of Sepidar prisoners and Shaiban prison of Ahvaz in front of Ahvaz’s Revolutionary Court.
  • The multi-day gathering of the family members of prisoners sentenced to death because of the 2018 protest in front of Isfahan’s Justice.
  • The gathering of the family members of the victims of the Ukrainian airplane downed by the IRGC.
  • The gathering of the family members of some of the political members in Mashhad, because of their unawareness about their detained family members.
  • The gathering of the family members of the Sina Athar hospital in Tehran.
  • The gathering of the family members of the Bestanrood village farmers in Khorramabad, protesting their arrest.
  • The gathering of the people of Kolahi port protesting the death of two captains of a fuel launch in Minab.
  • The gathering of the family of a political prisoner who died because of the coronavirus in Isfahan’s Dastgerd prison.

Protests because of the destruction of the people’s houses

  • The protests of the people in Chahbahar
  • The clash of the people of the Falak al-din neighborhood in Khorramabad
  • The protest of the people in Kermanshah because of the death of a woman, at the time when the regime’s official destroyed her house.
  • The clash between the people of the Abolfazl village, with the regime’s official, preventing the destruction of their houses.
  • The clash between the people of Bushehr at the time when the regime’s officials tried to destroy the houses of an entire neighborhood in this city.
  • The protest of the residents of the Sayed Abad village in Damavand because of the destruction of their homes.