Numerous protests against pitifully low pay have been organised by Iranian teachers in recent months, but they have received rough treatment at the hands of the authorities. When an institution as integral as education is in the line of fire, our prayers are crucial.
Teachers in Iran are paid below the country’s official poverty line, and many feel that Iran’s education system is being deeply harmed by the lack of dignity afforded to teachers. Earlier this year, teachers saw a significant portion of their already low salaries deducted under legal pretexts, leading them to take to the streets. The Teacher’s Union has since staged continuous rallies to voice its demands for improved conditions.
In April, thousands gathered in various cities for silent protests. Days before protests in May, the government began summoning and threatening Teachers Union members. In June, Esmael Abdi, Secretary-General of the Teachers Union, was arrested. In July, over 100 teachers were detained temporarily for protesting in front of parliament in Tehran against Abdi’s ongoing detention in Evin prison. Other teachers have been arrested in recent months, including the spokesman for the Teachers Union, and the head of the Teachers Organization of Iran.
The government’s reaction to the protests suggests that they have no intention to meet teacher demands. The reaction also reflects a tragic broader denial of labour rights in Iran.