United States Supports Striking Teachers in Iran
By Shahriar Kia
The Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI) called on teachers to hold sit-ins at their schools and to cancel planned lessons on 14th and 15th October. The organisation has said that the strike has become necessary because of the lack of action regarding the dispute with the Ministry of Education over pay and budget cuts.
The CCTSI expressed hope that the sit-ins would force the government into action but warned that this will not be the end of it if nothing happens. It said: “This October sit-ins are only the beginning: if we don’t see swift, constructive, and concrete changes to the pay slips of active and retired educational employees, and to per-capita funding of students, we will escalate our general strikes come November.”
Teachers are angry that the Iranian regime is denying the young people of Iran the right to education for all. The rising costs of school supplies and books mean than less and less people in the country can access education.
While the cost of education is rising, the quality of life for teachers is getting worse. Furthermore, the majority of teachers are living below the poverty line.
The teachers have the support of many, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. The leader of the Resistance encouraged all those participating in the strikes, not just the teachers, but also the truck drivers that have been striking for three weeks, to keep up the momentum. Mrs. Rajavi pointed out that the teachers in Iran are protesting against the dire conditions they have to suffer as well as the repressive atmosphere in schools. The aim of the protests, she said, was so that the teachers could get back their rights that have been trampled all over by the Iranian regime.
Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, also acknowledged the strikes that have been happening across Iran. In a message on Twitter she said: “We are following the reports of nationwide strikes in #Iran. We support the right of the Iranian people to peacefully express their rightful demands. These strikes have a message for the regime: stop wasting Iran’s wealth abroad and start addressing the needs of your own people.”
We are following the reports of nationwide strikes in #Iran. We support the right of the Iranian people to peacefully express their rightful demands. These strikes have a message for the regime: stop wasting Iran’s wealth abroad and start addressing the needs of your own people.— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) October 15, 2018
Teachers in more than a hundred cities across the country have been striking in 29 of the 31 provinces. Furthermore, students at the School of Social Sciences in Tehran University held a rally on Monday. They did not attend scheduled classes in support of the teachers that are striking. The students also called for the demands of the teachers to be met and for the release of teachers that have been detained by authorities.
Nationwide protests have been continuing since the end of December last year and the people of Iran have made it very clear that they want regime change. They are criticising the regime for its corruption and inefficiency that has had so many terrible consequences on the lives of the people.
Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.