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Workers at the Alborz tire factory near Tehran have rallied in front of Iran's presidential office to demand nine months' of unpaid wages and the reopening of the plant, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

An employee told Radio Farda that about 800 workers participated in the protest on April 24. He said the workers were told after the Iranian New Year in March that the factory would be closed until it had enough money to reopen.

Since the Alborz tire factory was privatized in the 1990s, its 1,300 workers have been paid irregularly.

Meanwhile, a number of workers at the Esfahan Steel Company gathered in front of the parliament building in Tehran on April 24 to protest the nonpayment of their back wages, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) reported.

Also on April 24, some 100 workers and their families gathered outside the Fars Organization of Industries and Mines in Shiraz seeking payment of their wages for the past six months, a worker told Radio Farda.

Deputy Labor Minister Mojtaba Zarei recently denied that any industrial workers have protested or gone on strike in the past year.

Javanmir Moradi, head of the Electrical and Metal Workers' Trade Union in the western city of Kermanshah, told Radio Farda on April 23 that is untrue.

Moradi said denying that labor strikes have been held allows the authorities to try to escape responsibility for the country's economic situation.

"Because the authorities do not want to confirm strikes at factories, they refuse to answer questions about why workers were dismissed or arrested for protesting," Moradi said.

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