Iranian workers and investors held a rally and a strike on Friday against corruption by officials in Iran. The protests were held by members of Shiraz Housing Cooperative and workers and employees of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex in the provinces of Fars and Khuzestan respectively.

Although Fridays count as a weekend in Iran, these rallies were an indication that much of Iran’s society can no longer endure economic pressure and will use any opportunity to vent their anger at the authorities. In their rallies, protesters complained over officials’ oppressive and corrupt policies that have dragged the country to the brink of collapse.

Rally of Shiraz Housing Cooperative Members
Rally of Shiraz Housing Cooperative Members

Rally of Housing Cooperative Members

Fars province—on January 8, members of Shiraz Housing Cooperative held a rally, demanding their plundered savings. Some 15 years ago, Shiraz Prison Office received their sums to hand over houses to them. However, since then, the office did not finish the housing project, and it has recently stopped it.

In this respect, these people held a gathering demanding their money be refunded. In their placards, protesters criticized Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi for his inaction in the issue.

Rally of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Workers
Rally of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Workers

Rally of Haft-Tappeh Complex Workers and Employees

Khuzestan province—a group of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex workers and employees gathered at this facility. They protested officials for failure to return this complex to the public sector.

In recent months, impoverished workers and employees of Haft-Tappeh frequently protested privatization. To make their voices heard, they organized a strike for at least 70 consecutive days in July and August 2020.

At the time, the State Security Forces (SSF) raided workers’ strike and detained several activists. Thugs affiliated to the complex’s corrupt CEO Omid Assad-Beigi opened fire on workers’ and their relatives’ houses. However, the workers did not acquiesce, and they continued protests.

The strike prompted interventions by numerous officials, including Ebrahim Raisi, the Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, and several MPs. They vowed to protesters that they would follow up their demands. However, after several weeks, it became clear that they only intended to silence these needy workers.

Previously, to ease the government’s economic pressure, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei launched and promoted privatization. In this respect, the regime allocated several public estates and properties to officials and their relatives under the pretense of privatization.

The regime purposed to circumvent sanctions and gain economic privileges through front companies like Haft-Tappeh and others in different provinces. Simultaneously, corrupt officials banned the workers and employees from the legal rights and privileges afforded to public sector employees, prompting workers’ wrath.

In Iran, workers are regularly deprived of their basic rights, while most workers’ monthly wages do not cover their necessities even for a fortnight. However, contract workers and those who are employed in the private sector suffer from additional problems, and even the government does not recognize their rights that had been approved by the Majlis.

Iranians Continue Protests; at Least Four Rallies and Strikes on January 7