Life in Iran TodayWorkers in Iran’s Mining Industry Suffer Greatly From the...

Workers in Iran’s Mining Industry Suffer Greatly From the Iranian Regime’s Lack of Safety Laws


Mining has been one of the world’s most critical industries that have existed for thousands of years. Between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago is when the first people began mining the earth for precious minerals, and over time, and the discovery and advancement of technology to help assist the process, the industry has greatly benefitted from it.

These days, the safety of the miners is at the forefront, with many protocols and measures becoming laws to safeguard them in their place of work. As a result, mining incidents around the world are rare, but in Iran, the laws and safety protocols are non-existent under the rule of the Iranian regime.

Iran is one of the most important mineral producers in the world, ranked among 15 major mineral-rich countries, holding some 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tons of proven reserves, and over 57 billion tons of potential reserves worth $770 billion in 2014.

The environmental effects of mining, along with the metallurgical processing, regularly cause major occupational health and safety problems, but the Iranian government is blind to this fact. Assessments of the environmental impacts have never been fully manifested, so Iranian miners are risking their lives every day that they go out to work.

While Iranian workers do technically have the right to form labor unions, no union systems exist in Iran, and the right to strike is not respected by the regime. Since the mullahs came to power in 1979, protests and strikes have been consistently met with violent crackdowns and arbitrary arrests.

A lot of the industrial infrastructure in Iran is greatly outdated, and as many construction and mining sites regularly operate with inadequate materials, accidents are common. Managers at these sites refuse to invest in safety measures, and with international sanctions blocking the imports of new equipment, the workers are left to suffer the consequences.

About two million people work directly and indirectly in Iran’s mines. In Iran, there are about 5,400 active mines with over 91,000 workers, of which 90 are active coal mines with about 10,000 workers.

In recent years, a staggering number of mining-related disasters have occurred in Iran. In May 2017, around 23 miners were killed, and dozens of others were wounded and trapped when a coal mine in northern Iran collapsed following an explosion of methane gas.

Early 2020 saw several incidents. In Delijan on January 6, a mine worker was electrocuted when scaffolding collided with high-voltage cables. A few days later, Mojtaba Tagizadeh died, and four other miners were injured when tunnel number 20 of the Hamkar coal mine collapsed. A tunnel accident in the Asafij coal mine in Bahabad led to the death of a mine worker in late January, while a coal miner in Kerman was crushed to death by a concrete mixer. The following month, a stone worker in Khusuf was killed by a rockfall, and two workers at the Tashkouieh mine in Bafq were suffocated to death by a gas leak.

Aside from the severe lack of safety measures, workers in Iran, and particularly miners face severe salary delays. Sometimes their wages have not been paid for months.

These are just some of the things that Iranian workers must endure. Most employers are affiliated with the regime to one extent or another, so the lives of their employees and their living conditions are of little significance to them.

The regime routinely offers empty promises to those standing up for their rights, who gather in their hundreds and thousands to air their grievances or detain protesters instead of solving the problems within Iranian society.

Iranian workers have reached the undeniable conclusion that the solution to their misery and economic grievances can only be found with the removal of this regime.

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