Khamenei: Iran’s Enemies 'Provoke' Workers Into Going on Strike

Khamenei: Iran’s Enemies 'Provoke' Workers Into Going on Strike

Tuesday, 27 February, 2018 - 09:15
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (File Photo: Reuters/Khamenei.ir/Handout)
London- Asharq Al Awsat
Few days after hundreds of laborers had protested in various areas in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned against the expansion of labor movements against the regime as a result of the deteriorating economic situation. Meanwhile, Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said that his country faces major challenges both at the internal and external levels and called for a national dialogue between all Iranian parties to restore the regime's balance.

Iranian workers protesting labor conditions have gone on strike in Ahvaz, west of Azerbaijan, and Lorestan following delayed payments as Iran prepares to celebrate Nowruz.

In a speech addressing workers during his meeting with trade unions three weeks ago, Khamenei implicitly warned against the increased number of labor protests.

Khamenei warned that Iran’s enemies have attempted to “provoke” Iranian workers into going on strike in order to drive the economy into recession. But he said the workers have “resisted” and “foiled” those attempts in recent years.

"One of the fundamental attempts by the enemies was provoking the workers to create recession in the factories," he said, adding: "but the workers resisted through the past years, foiling the enemies' plot."

Khamenei's website, which published the statement, did not explain the reasons for their publication at this particular time. But the site usually releases "sensitive" unpublished statements given the circumstances the country is going through.

It is speculated that officials' attempts to contain the protests and restore calm to the country are among the reasons why Khamenei's office didn't publish his statements three weeks ago.

During his speech after the 39th anniversary of the revolution, Khamenei stated that "the regime advanced in various areas but has failed to achieve social justice" and called on Iranian officials to apologize to the Iranians.

Following the presidential elections in May, Khamenei demanded that living conditions be among the priorities of Rouhani's second government.

Iran began the year 2018 with popular protests against high prices.

Trade unions point out that protests were a result of unpaid salaries and dues and employers abandoning their obligations towards workers.

Earlier this month, the Iranian Presidential Research Center published polls showing that 80 percent of Iranians were dissatisfied with the current situation. In its recommendations, the Center advised senior officials to make urgent adjustments in order to prevent renewed protests that are expected to be more violent and challenging for the authorities.

Last week, north Tehran witnessed violent clashes between supporters of Sufism and security forces in the region of Pasdaran. Five security forces and a number of protesters were killed and at least 360 arrested.

On Monday, 5,000 workers from al-Ahwaz Steel Company went on strike and protested in front of the governor's office to demand financial compensation for the three-months delay of salary payment.

Iranian media outlets reported similar protests in the provinces of Lurstan and Western Azerbaijan and two centers.

"Ilna" news agency reported that the Interior Ministry intends to hold a meeting with representatives of workers in order to put an end to the protests.

In a related matter, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Saturday that his country faces challenges in various economic, social, cultural and political areas both inside and outside the country.

Jahangiri called for the need to face the challenges and "think about restoring the social balance of the system."

Speaking at a ceremony on the 80th anniversary of establishing the Iranian National Library, Jahangiri said he regrets removing dialogue and "resorting to the confrontation, which leaves great pressure on society."

Meanwhile, head of parliament's economic commission Mohammad Reza Pour-Ibrahimi indicated that a second request for questioning Rouhani was sent to the parliament after it was endorsed by 100 members of the parliament.

The Iranian president's administration must provide convincing answers to MPs' questions in an attempt to withdraw the question.

The spokesman, quoted by Fars News Agency, indicated that the second question compromises of five issues which Rouhani must address such as bank sanctions, unemployment, and economic recession.

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