Iran has seen a fresh wave of protests over the past few days and the state-run media are warning that this could lead to an uprising that would unseat the regime.
Electricity workers gathered outside the parliament on Tuesday to protest officials who failed to meet their demands for full payment of wages, fixing hiring procedures, addressing official and contract workers’ distribution issues, and stopping contractor companies from stealing their money. One protester carried a banner that advised that contract workers are paid just one-third of official workers’ salaries.
Meanwhile, municipality workers in Behbehan protested outside the City Council over their unpaid wages.
At the same time, livestock farmers in Gonabad protested outside the Agriculture Ministry over the authorities’ failure to support them, as high feed costs for animals and low milk prices, meant that they were forced to sell dairy cattle as livestock.
On Monday, railway workers in Karaj and Varamin continued to strike over unpaid wages and new year bonuses. They also went on strike last week. The Karaj workers are worried that the contracter won’t pay their wages once the project in complete so they are demanding that the authorities settle their contracts and ensure their job security.
Meanwhile, Iran Maye factory workers protested outside the Tabriz factory over the sudden closure.
As this was going on, the state-run Mostaghel daily wrote: “Iran is engulfed in a cloud of crises. There’s a probability that you won’t be able to control urban riots… The society has been polarized and 70 million people are discontent.”
It compared the current protests and the November 2019 uprising, with the previous ones in 1999 and 2009, saying that it’s not just the middle-class taking to the streets, but the 80% of the country who are impoverished. This, the paper said, scares the ruling system.
In addition, the people have roundly rejected the mullahs’ false distinction between the moderate and hardliners, which means that they are likely to boycott the June Presidential election, as they did the parliamentary one last year. This will chip away at the regime’s claims of legitimacy.
It also doesn’t help the regime that the Deputy Trade and Mine Minister mocked people’s inability to afford food, which Mostaghel criticised on Tuesday in a piece about citizens’ declining living conditions, where they said that “there will be nothing left on the people’s tables to eat and survive”.
They wrote: “Why should one of the main challenges of the people be to stand in long queues to buy poultry, oil, and other food items? Does having strong military allies such as Russia and China and Hamas and Syria guarantee the survival and independence of our country and society? The people are clearly seeing that after eight years, the government that is in power has done nothing to solve the people’s most basic food needs.”