Teacher Protests Expand in Iran As Warsaw Summit Watches

The eyes of global news media have turned to the Warsaw summit, hosted jointly by the United States and Poland. The purpose of the conference is to address Iran’s malign activities with which they have plagued the Middle East for the past 40 years. The Trump administration along with Polish allies is investigating ways to end the regime’s influence.

Iran’s teachers and educators carried out another nationwide strike. Iranian social media then exploded with photos and videos taken at the teachers’ protests. Protests were held in more than a dozen cities.

fourth iran teacher protest
Fourth Iran teacher protest

Teacher Protests Continue

The website women.ncr-iran.org news reported that Iranian teachers and educators held nationwide protests for the fourth time this year. That was on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

At the time of filing this report, teacher and educator protests were held in Mashhad, Kermanshah, Urmia, Ardabil, Khorramabad, Sanandaj and Marivan.

working and retired women teachers protest
Working and retired women teachers protest

As in the previous nationwide protests, both working and retired women teachers actively participated in this fourth round.

The teachers and educators have been unpaid for some time now. They demanded payment of salaries, that imprisoned teachers be released, and that education for all children should be free.

In the western Iranian city of Kermanshah, teachers and educators held a big rally outside the city’s Department of Education. Women teachers and educators actively participated in this protest. As part of their protest, they chanted, “Working and retired (teachers), unite!”

Teachers and educators in the west Iranian city of Sanandaj and Urmia in northwest Iran, protested poor education standards as well as demanding higher wages. They also wanted better pensions for retired colleagues. Among the placards they held was one saying, “One must cry for a society whose teachers are jailed.” Other women held placards which demanded free education for all Iran’s children.

teachers protests outside department of education
Teachers outside the department of education

Iranian teachers and educators in Mashhad, Urmia, and Marivan gathered outside the Department of Education in these cities.

A number of teachers and educators were arrested in Urmia. The protestors assembled and protested despite the massive presence of security forces who feared the spread of the protests. Eyewitnesses reported that the government sent more troops to disperse and suppress the protest than there were participants.

Warsaw summit watches as iranian teachers and educators protest.
Iranian teachers and educators protest.

The previous three teacher protests took place in May, October, and November. In the October protests, teachers assembled in more than 60 cities in 26 provinces.

Teachers says they do not earn enough money to live. Teacher salaries are one-third of the poverty line. Even worse, most teachers only have temporary contracts, so they receive even smaller wages, less than one-fourth of the poverty line.

Over the past year, there have been more than 280 protests by Iranian teachers and educators. That is at least three times more protests than the 88 held throughout 2018. The Warsaw Summit is watching.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.