Iran Daily: Protest in Ahvaz Over Detained Steelworkers

Ahvaz was a center of protests across Iran over political and economic conditions early this year --- photo is from January 1, 2018


A large demonstration in Ahvaz in southwestern Iran has called for striking steelworkers to be freed from prison.

Saturday night’s protest was spurred by the seizure of at least 10 men by security forces in overnight raids on Thursday.

No charges were announced, but the men were part of protests by hundreds of employees of the National Steel Industrial Group, in front of the Ahvaz Governor-General’s offices, over three months of unpaid wages.

See Iran Daily, March 3: Authorities Arrest Striking Steelworkers

Workers and their supporters — with the number claimed to be in thousands — chanted slogans such as “The imprisoned workers must be released”; “Beware, police officers! We are workers not hooligans”; “We are workers, we need bread, medical treatment and medicine”; and “We stand firm; we will die, but we will achieve our rights.”

Backing allegations of mismanagement by the former owner, the National Bank of Iran, current owner Abdolreza Mousavi — and seeking the resignation of regional Governor-General Gholamreza Shariati — the demonstrators shouted, “Thieves are outside, laborers are behind bars.”

Iran’s Free Trade Union circulated a directive issued by the factory’s managers accusing a “small number” of workers of “hampering the production and jihad work of their colleagues”.

The language echoed the Supreme Leader’s blame of “foreign enemies” of stoking discord among Iranian workers, made in a speech on February 5 and promoted on his website three weeks later.

The steelworks owner Mousavi, an Iranian tycoon, regretted the detentions but insisted that “several malicious individuals” are fomenting unrest.

Protests over pay and working conditions have been common in recent years in Iran, amid the country’s economic difficulties. They crystallized in late December and early January in rallies across the Islamic Republic, bringing the Rouhani Government’s response that it will address concerns.

Report: Gonabadi Dervish Dies in Custody

Mohammad Raji, a member of the Sufi Gonabadi Dervishes, has reportedly died in custody during interrogation.

Fellow Dervishes are claiming that Raji, a former Revolutionary Guards commander and a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, was killed.

A number of Dervishes were detained last month amid clashes with security forces as they demonstrated in north Tehran, protesting the possible seizure of their leader, 90-year-old Nour-Ali Tabandeh.

See Iran Daily: Security Forces Clash with Sufi Followers, 3 Policemen Reportedly Killed

Activists Zand and Babaei Freed — But Another Seized

Civil rights activist Dariush Zand has been released from detention, a day after his wife and fellow activist Shima Babaei was freed.

A video has been posted of the couple embracing outside the prison.

The couple were seized on February 1 by Intelligence Ministry officers. Amnesty International raised their case in a statement three weeks later.

However, Mohammad Habibi, an activist for the Teacher’s Union, has been arrested outside the computer college where he works.

Supreme Leader Takes Advantage of US Gun Issue

The Supreme Leader has seized a propaganda advantage with a focus on the issue of gun violence in the US.

Addressing university students and professors on Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei spoke of “100s…killed every week by homicide for no crime — no reason”:

Khamenei said bluntly, “What’s the solution? It’s to make guns illegal” while denouncing the “corruption” and “powerful…gun companies” preventing action.

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    • He’s a pathetic propagandist with alleged ties to Iranian intelligence. Iranian media is hardly one to talk either. You can keep your propagandists to yourselves. We’ve heard all their BS before.

      • Editor: Kevin from Kentucky is openly slandering a fellow academic without presenting any evidence. Dr. Marandi has no known ties to iranian intelligence. As a professor of politics, of course, he has contacts in the Iranian government, If you are going to censor my own comments and opinions, then fair is fair. You should do so here.

        • You clearly doesn’t understand the word alleged. Nobody in the west gives a shit about anything the propagandist has to say. Deal with it. Tell it to the massive state controlled propaganda apparatus. I’d prefer that your comments not be censored so everyone can get a good look at them.

  1. Iran Steel Output Rises 21%:

    “Iranian steel mills produced 21.72 million tons of steel in 2017, up 21.4% compared to the year before, according to the latest report sent by World Steel Association to its members, including the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries and Development Renovation Organization.”

    Iran’s steel industry has grown considerably over the last decade, although some steel producers are doing better than others.Iran’s textile industry, however, is in a steep decline due to the high cost of products and cheap imports from China and Turkey: One key city involved in textiles production is Kashan in Esfahan province. The loss of jobs and livelihoods contributed to protests held in the city in early January. The Rouhani government has largely ignored this town and others like it.

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