On December 17, Iranian citizens continued their protests in different cities across the country, demanding their inherent rights. These protests included the rallies of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients’ families, Omidiyeh municipality workers, and employees of Tabriz telecommunication company, and a strike by MAPNA Group’s workers and employees in Kangan city.
Rally of CF Patients’ Families
Families of CF patients from various cities once again gathered in front of the Health Ministry in Tehran, protesting the lack of medicine and officials’ unkept promises.
“For around a year the government has not imported ‘Creon’ medication which is the main medicine for CF patients,” said protesting families. “Last year, following several rallies in front of Tehran Medical Sciences University and the Health Ministry, the government gave a 100-tablet package of Creon to each CF patient on two occasions. But, since the time their ill children received no medication,” families added.
Notably, Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system, and other organs in the body. Though no cure has thus far been discovered, treatment can ease symptoms, reduce complications, and lead to a longer life.
Moreover, this disease imposes massive expenditures on patients and their families. According to professionals, the monthly cost for each patient is between 50 to 200 million rials [$190-770]. CF patients are severely needy. Life is too hard and bitter for these poor patients and their family members.
The families also added, “Until today, we approximately went ten times to the Food and Medicine Organization. But it was futile. Officials say, ‘we have no authority.’ So, who is in charge? Who must respond to us? How comes the government has enough foreign exchange currency to import everything, but it has no currency for importing critical medicine for 5,000-6,000 CF patients?”
“How can officials purchase 400-million-rial [$1,540] nebulizer machines from foreign countries and import them but they are unable to purchase medicine? Do you know how much Creon could be purchased with the cost of a nebulizer machine? Our children are going to die, and they are becoming smaller every day. They do not need nebulizer machines,” families said.
The government falsely claims that the country is under medicine sanctions while in February, former Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Abbas Mousavi rejected the European leaders’ INSTEX initiative. He admitted that “Food and medication had never been sanctioned” and “we do not need European’s initiative.”
Furthermore, in its statement, the U.S. Department of State recently acknowledged that there is no barrier before Tehran’s efforts for purchasing medication and other essential goods. On December 16, the department confirmed that the country’s pressures were not aimed at medications and food. Earlier, on December 7, COVAX rejected Iranian officials’ claims about sanctions, stating, “There is no legal barrier to Iran procuring [Covid-19] vaccines through COVAX.”
Omidiyeh Municipality Workers Continue Strike for 2nd Consecutive Day
For the second consecutive day, employees and workers of Omidiyeh municipality refused to work and held a rally, protesting officials for not paying their salaries and pensions for eight months. Protesting workers rallied in front of the local governorate to express their inherent demands.
In recent months, employees of both public and private sectors had launched enormous rallies and protests, pursuing their arrears and delayed paychecks. Officials constantly attribute all blames to foreign economic pressure, while they build palaces and spend the country’s national resources on importing luxury fruits, foreign cars, or food for their dogs and cats.
Employees of Tabriz Telecommunication Company Continue Their Rallies
A group of contract staff of the telecommunication company in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, continued their protests for consecutive days. They complain to the government over the lack of job security and their unsustainable working conditions.
In their rally in front of the East Azerbaijan telecommunication office, employees and workers demanded job security and implementing the careers classification plan.
“The managing board had vowed that it would implement the plan for classifying careers from October. But they did nothing,” workers said.
MAPNA Group’s Workers Launch a Strike
Workers of OANDM company, one of the contractors of MAPNA Group, stopped working in Phase 19 of Kangan’s tenth oil refinery, protesting the coronavirus instructions. As a result of employers’ denial of observing the protocols, many workers have contracted the virus so far, according to protesters.
“The company does not act according to the contract. It has broken all its promises and announced that all the workers must participate in the workplace. This order is in violation of health protocols regarding the coronavirus outbreak,” workers said.
“Employers’ act is inhuman, and they intend to steal the money of the hygienic budget. They do not care about workers’ lives, and their functions put the lives of workers in danger,” protesters added.