Iranian teachers hold protest rallies in dozens of cities

Teachers across Iran staged demonstrations on Thursday to protest government policies and poor living conditions. The rallies took place outside the offices of the Ministry of Education in at least a dozen cities.

Teachers are protesting the regime’s delays and obstructions in implementing the ‘grading bill’ and the systemic crackdown on teacher activists in Iran.

In a statement, the teachers stressed that despite several waves of protests, the regime refuses to adjust their jobs and salaries.

Last month, the Majlis passed the “Teacher Ranking” bill, which is supposed to solve many of the problems teachers have faced in recent years.

According to the bill, teachers will be ranked according to “general, specialist and professional qualifications, experience and competitive function” and divided into five rankings. Salaries will be determined based on teacher rankings.

While the regime has bragged about the bill and its achievements, Iranian teachers blame the regime for failing to meet their needs. Teachers are demanding the resignation of the Minister of Education, who has shown no competence in reforming the education system and improving conditions for teachers and students.

Teachers also call for free education for children and warn that the lack of free education leads to an increase in child labor. According to the regime’s own official statistics, thousands of children in Tehran alone work because their families cannot afford to send them to school.

In their statement, the teachers also protest the systemic repression of their protests and movements. Teachers refer to “a new round of repressive measures” against teachers, including long prison sentences for teacher activists. Security forces summon and threaten teachers. Regime officials have failed to respond to teachers’ just demands “and instead of being responsible, they are resorting to the wrong methods they have used in the past,” the statement said.

Over the past year, Iranian teachers have staged six rounds of nationwide protests. On Thursday, teachers stressed they would stay on the streets until their demands were met. “The street is ours, and until all our demands are met, repression, jail and bogus records will not force the teachers’ movement back one step,” the statement read.

The regime has tried to intimidate teachers by calling their gatherings a “security threat” and paving the way for their crackdown.

On December 15, the official Keyhan newspaper warned that the rallies were being taken over and controlled by “enemies of the state”.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)-affiliated Javanese newspaper tried to downplay the teacher’s demands and complained that 72 percent of the education budget increase had been allocated to teachers. “Instead of allocating our credit to expanding the education system and improving the quality of education, we spend it on salaries,” the newspaper writes.

It’s worth mentioning that Javan’s owner, the IRGC, has seen a 240% year-over-year increase in spending billions of dollars on foreign terrorism, ballistic missiles, internet censorship, and internal repression.

The Iranian keeps teachers’ salaries low. Many teachers have to work multiple shifts and multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Their wages are less than half the poverty line, which would be 120 to 140 million rials per month. In recent years, as the economy has continued to decline under the mullahs’ corrupt regime, many teachers have committed suicide due to poverty and the inability to meet their basic needs.

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Aubrey L. Morgan