By Shahriar Kia
Widespread discontent across Iran is still very much in the forefront. Last year was marked by major protests and anti-government demonstrations and this year is set to continue in the same way.
The people have made it very clear that they will not tolerate the regime’s corruption and mismanagement and they are adamant that regime change will come soon.
Over the weekend, angry protesters took to the streets in several cities across the country, including railways workers in Ahvaz, young people in Tehran, farmers in Isfahan, dam workers in Gachsaran and teachers in Karoun and Bavi.
Railway workers have been protesting because of the non-payment of wages since October 2017 and because of the extremely poor working conditions that they are subjected to. Dozens of workers that have not been paid gathered in front of Kayson Inc.’s headquarters in Ahvaz. Kayson Inc. is one of the wealthiest contractors in the construction industry.
In the capital, Tehran, young people staged a sit-in at the parliament building because of the terrible economic and employment conditions. Many of them held banners indicating their personal situation or their particular struggle.
Young people, those with higher education and those without it, are often condemned to unemployment. Unemployment is a very serious issue and is one of the main reasons for ongoing protests.
Several other protests occurred across the city, including by customers who had purchased vehicles only to never receive them. The Iranian people have been calling the state-run vehicle manufacturers out for its corrupt practices.
One such example is when two of the biggest auto manufacturers in the country – Saipa and Iran Khodro – promised early buyers a discounted price. Then, once deals had been made, they went back on their promise and made clients pay the full price.
Farmers in a village named Oshkohoran have been gathering in front of the mayor’s office because of their lack of access to water. They have been suffering the consequences of inefficient water channels and their livelihoods are in grave danger.
This town, in the Isfahan province, has had water problems for years. In 2011, many people in the province protested about the water conditions and they have continued to this day.
The Iranian government is mismanaging the water resources and have policies of water distribution that are not favourable to the people. For years, the government has been making false promises and outright lying to the people.
In the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, a number of dam workers protested about their wages that have been overdue for a year. They have been employed to build a power station and dam and authorities have promised them for months to pay their wages. They are still waiting and have held a number of protests.
Finally, teachers in the Khuzestan province have been protesting about the non-payment of bonuses that they are entitled to. Also, teachers in the Sistan and Baluchistan province have held protests regarding unemployment. Several protests have turned violent during clashes between the police and the people.