Iran: Wave of antigovernment protests and strikes

A wave of popular protests and strikes by workers and university students has swept various cities across Iran, according to reports from the country.

In the south-western city of Ahwaz, the Revolutionary Guards responded to recent unrest and protests in the city with tightened security and military control and further crackdown. A 20-year-old man, identified as Ali, was hanged in public after writing antigovernment slogans in public places. In return, a group of young people attacked the Revolutionary Guards in Ahwaz's Abolfazl Mosque on Wednesday May 6. Some 20 Guards were badly beaten up.

In the cities of Qazvin (west of Tehran) and Najafabad (central Iran), bakers have been on strike since Sunday, May 10, in protest against rising flour prices. In Isfahan and Meshkinshahr (north-west Iran) several clashes have broken out between people in lines to buy bread and the security forces in recent days. People openly swear at the ruling mullahs for raising the price of bread by 30 to 50 percent.

Khatami's government has given wide-ranging powers to an organ of repression, the "Organization for Implementation of State Punishment" to fine shopkeepers, shut down businesses and arrest merchants under the pretext of fighting overpricing.

In the southern city of Yassouj, shopkeepers and bazaar merchants closed their businesses and gathered on one of the main city streets to protest the repressive actions of the Organization for Implementation of State Punishment. This brought the city to a virtual standstill.

In the northern city of Rasht, workers at Gilan Carpet factory and another factory making blankets have gone on strike to protest the non-payment of their wages. Workers have blocked the Rasht-Fuman and Rasht-Anzali highways to press their demands. In Bandar Anzali, workers at Gilan Socks factory have gone on strike, again to protest the non-payment of their wages.

Some 1,000 students from the nursing and midwifery colleges in Tehran, Qazvin and Karaj gathered in Tehran's Laleh Park on May 3 to protest against the clerical regime's plan, currently being studied by the mullahs' Majlis, to enforce sex segregation in medical establishments.

Medical students in Isfahan made a similar protest on May 5, staging a sit-in at the city's School of Medicine followed by a march. They were attacked by Revolutionary Guards and a number of students were arrested. They remain in detention. Students at medical faculties in Tabriz and Mashad have staged similar protests.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 13, 1998

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