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UPDATE: 8:30 PM CET
Amid Serious Shortages in Iran’s Educational System, Regime Prioritizes Political Purging
With the start of the new school year, the Minister of Education of the Raisi cabinet announced a comprehensive purification plan in schools and the replacement of 20,000 school principals. Iran’s so-called “purification” of its education system is actually a purge of dissident educational staff and their replacement with forces loyal to the regime.
Reza Moradi Sahraee said, “This year, nearly 20,000 school principals were changed to create a transformation in schools. Also, 7,000 schools were identified in the transformation plan, and this year we will start our activities in 5,000 schools.”
The state-run Tasnim news agency also reported that out of a total of over 106,000 public schools in Iran, about 7,000 schools (11.19%) lack piped water from urban or rural areas. The report refers to the Ministry of Education’s statistics on the health status of schools and states that more than 5,000 schools lack toilets and that about 12,000 schools lack a sanitary sewage system.
‘Gender Apartheid’: Un Experts Denounce Iran’s Proposed Hijab Law
A new draft law that would enshrine harsh punishments for women and girls who fail to wear a hijab in Iran could amount to “gender apartheid,” UN experts said in a statement on Friday.
“The draft law could be described as a form of gender apartheid, as authorities appear to be governing through systemic discrimination with the intention of suppressing women and girls into total submission,” the experts said.
The proposed legislation, which is currently under review by the Iranian parliament, would establish harsh penalties for women who refuse to wear the veil – including long jail sentences. The 70-article draft law also proposes stiff new penalties for celebrities and businesses who flout the rules and the use of artificial intelligence to identify women in breach of the dress code.
UPDATE: 2:30 PM CET
Hoor al-Azim Wetland Ignites Once Again
Following yet another blaze in Iran’s part of the Hoor al-Azim wetland on September 21, Musa Modehji, the head of the Hoveyzeh Environmental Department, stated, “Water scarcity has led to the Hoor al-Azim wetland fires in western Khuzestan.”
He added, “Ensuring the required water supply for Hoor al-Azim is the only way to prevent wildfires.”
Hoor al-Azim is one of the country’s most important wetlands, and the last surviving wetland in this region in the world, with one-third of it located in Iran and two-thirds in Iraq. This wetland has faced challenges due to an 80% reduction in the flow of the Karkheh River and the construction of the Samireh Dam upstream of the river in Ilam, as well as ambitious oil exploration operations by the regime. Hoor al-Azim is recognized for being a critical filter against fine particles, and its drying has resulted in the formation of dust storms.
Sunday Protests in Iran
On Sunday morning, September 24, workers at the Urmia cement factory withdrew from work and went on strike, demanding an increase in wages. They say that while the factory managers receive over 60 million tomans in salary, workers cannot make a living with a monthly wage of 12 million tomans and cope with a staggering high inflation and soaring prices of basic items. There are contractual workers with up to 25 years of experience who receive only 7 million tomans in wages.
September 23—Urmia, northwest #Iran
Workers of the Urmia Cement Factory on strike, demanding higher salaries.
According to the workers, the managers of the factory are earning more than 600 million rials per month while workers with 120 million rials can't make ends meet.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 24, 2023
Also today, a number of employees of the Water and Wastewater Company (ABFA) in Shush County protested by gathering at the office to demand their rights, including regular salary payments. These workers claimed that some employees have between 6 to 10 months of unpaid wages, and in addition, there is a significant disparity in salaries among the personnel.
They also stated that some employees have several years of unpaid insurance contributions because they were under the supervision of contractors in the past, and these contractors did not pay their insurance. They have been following up on this issue for a long time.
These personnel raised the issue of job classification and status conversion as one of their other problems and added that financial difficulties among some personnel are leading to family issues. If this issue is not addressed, it will result in social problems within families, the protesters complained.
September 23—Shush, southwest #Iran
Employees of the water and sewage department hold protest rally in front of the offices of the department, demanding the proper payment of their wages.
According to the protesters, they have 6-10 months of unpaid wages, and there is significant… pic.twitter.com/B1UfWltoZp
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 24, 2023
Iran’s Water Crisis Threatens Its Historical Sites
Today, the state-run news agency ILNA admitted that subsidence has reached 300 meters in Takht-e Jamshid (Persepolis). The width of the subsidence in the historical area of Naqsh-e Rostam ranges from half a meter to 70 centimeters.
The source added, “In studies and in satellite images of the past 10 years, only a small area of Marvdasht plain was facing this subsidence phenomenon. However, in recent studies, the entire Marvdasht plain has been affected by this phenomenon, and the extent and speed of expansion of land subsidence in this plain has significantly progressed. Although Persepolis is not affected by subsidence, within a distance of 300 meters, due to being located in the mountain’s bosom, subsidence of approximately 10 to 15 centimeters has occurred.”
The result of these reports indicates that very large cracks, ranging from half a meter to 70 centimeters wide, have been created on the surface of the Marvdasht plain. In Shiraz plain, including the Mahrloo Lake area to the northwest of the city, subsidence has also occurred in some areas.
Maryam Dehghani, a member of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Roads and Buildings, and Environmental Engineering at Shiraz University, said, “Our warnings about land subsidence have had no effect so far, and there has been no will to address it. It has been about 10 years since we have raised the issue of land subsidence in all media outlets, but no result has been achieved.”
Persepolis, known as Takht-e Jamshid in Persian, is an archaeological marvel and a testament to ancient Persian civilization. It stands as a vivid reminder of the glorious Achaemenid Empire, a civilization that profoundly influenced the course of human history. Founded by Darius the Great around 518 BC, Persepolis became the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire. It was a hub for cultural, political, and religious activities, hosting grand celebrations and diplomatic gatherings.
Iran’s land subsidence crisis is primarily rooted in water mismanagement and overexploitation, further exacerbated by the involvement of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC, deeply embedded in various sectors, exerts control over Iran’s water systems, promoting unsustainable practices like excessive groundwater pumping and unauthorized infrastructure development. This exploitation disrupts aquifers and rivers, aggravating the subsidence issue and threatening communities and agriculture.
UPDATE: 9:30 AM CET
The Iranian Regime’s Weakening Grip on Power
Ahead of the anniversary of Iran’s 2022 uprising, the regime went every last mile to ensure that protests would not take place. According to reports, the regime was on full alert in Greater Tehran, and at least 23,000 IRGC and Basij forces and 21,000 State Security Forces were present. According to some reports, in some areas of Tehran, security forces would not even tolerate a congregation of three people. The security presence was so heavy that, Rahim Ghomishi, a retired IRGC officer wrote on the Saham News channel on September 16, “What I saw with my own eyes in the streets of Tehran today, I would not be exaggerating to say that if a foreign state had occupied Tehran and Iran, there wouldn’t be so many security forces in the streets to convince the people that the country has been occupied and resistance is futile.”
The Reasons Behind Iran’s Declining Food Exports
Despite the claims made by Iran’s regime economic authorities regarding the increase in non-oil exports, official statistics reveal a continuous decline in the value and volume of Iran’s food industry exports over the past six years, with a significant drop observed in the last year.
On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, the Eco Iran website reported that, based on official statistics, the value of food exports peaked at $2.717 billion in 2017. However, this upward trajectory began to reverse in 2019, culminating in a steep decline by the end of 2022, with exports plummeting to $1.921 billion.
When considering the weight of these exports, it’s worth noting that the highest growth in food exports was recorded in 2020 and 2021. In 2019, the exported weight stood at 1.88 million tons, while in 2020, it reached 1.81 million tons. However, from 2017 to the close of 2022, food exports decreased by 2% in terms of weight. A worrisome sign is that during the first five months of 2023, exports amounted to only 790,000 tons, indicating a likely continuation of this declining trend by year-end compared to previous years.
Six More Women Are Among Those Apprehended To Prevent Another Uprising
Six more women are among those apprehended to prevent another uprising
Mahsa Saeedi continues to remain in detention, 11 days after her arrest. Mahsa Saeedi was born in Kerman but studied at the University of Yazd (central Iran) and has a Ph.D. in economics. Agents of IRGC Intelligence in Yazd arrested Mahsa Saeedi on September 11 and transferred her to an undisclosed location. No news is available on her fate, and her family is really concerned. The clerical regime has been making widespread arrests over the past few months, stepping up the detentions around the anniversary of the 2022 Iran Uprising on September 16. The regime’s security and intelligence services arrest students, teachers, professors, rights activists, former political prisoners, and relatives of martyrs of the uprising.
Workers And Employees In Iran Can’t Afford Housing
A member of the Construction Commission of the Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament) has reported an intensification of the housing crisis in Iran and stated that “today the house rent prices have exceeded the purchasing power of the working class, employees, and lower-income segments of society.”
Ismaeil Hossein-Zehi also announced the identification and closure of over ten thousand unauthorized real estate agencies in the country, considering them as “the cause of the crisis” in the housing market. Babak Negahdari, the head of the Majlis Research Center, stated on May 21 that “government policies” have led to a 52-fold increase in housing prices in Tehran over the past 17 years, although this price growth “has been eightfold in a small city like Yasuj.”
85 Kolbars Injured and Killed in Six Months
The media outlet “Kolbarnews” (hra-news) has reported that a total of 85 kolbars (cross-border laborers) were killed or injured in the first six months of the Persian calendar year (From March 21 to September 21) in the border areas and roads of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Kermanshah provinces. Kolbars are individuals who transport commercial goods on their backs from border areas into the country to make ends meet. Kolbars are often subjected to suppression and violence by the military forces. According to the report, out of this number, 13 kolbars were killed and 72 kolbars were injured. Among the total of 85 kolbars who were killed or injured, 77 of them lost their lives or were injured due to direct shootings by the regime military forces.
Stockholm, Sweden—September 23, 2023: MEK Supporters Held a Rally in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution
Stockholm, Sweden—September 23, 2023: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) held a rally in solidarity with the Iran Revolution against the religious dictatorship ruling Iran.
Geneva—September 21, 2023: MEK Supporters Held a Rally and Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution
Geneva, Switzerland—September 21, 2023: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) held a rally and exhibition in Place des Nations in solidarity with the Iran Revolution. They also commemorated the martyrs of the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people.
Also, read Iran News in Brief – September 23, 2023