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Iran's Parliament Approves Pay Rise For Teachers After Widespread Protests


Iranian teachers protest their low incomes in Qom last month.

Iran's parliament passed legislation on December 15 to raise teachers' salaries following several days of countrywide protests and a strike that impacted the Islamic republic's education system.

The legislation had initially obtained emergency approval on December 14 following a three-day strike by thousands of teachers and educators that culminated with hundreds of demonstrators gathering in front of the parliament building in Tehran on December 13 to protest unfair labor conditions. Police used violence against the strikers and arrested several people.

Measures passed by legislators on December 15 guarantee that teachers will earn about 80 percent of the salaries of university faculty members, one of the protesters' demands.

Lawmaker Alireza Monadi, who heads parliament's education committee, told the semiofficial Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) that a teacher would earn a minimum of about 80 million rials ($267) per month if the legislation is enacted, compared with an average of around 60 million rials now.

Education Minister Yousef Nouri promised on December 14 that the law, which had been repeatedly introduced in parliament in recent years but failed to pass, would be swiftly implemented after its approval, the state news agency IRNA reported.

During rallies held in several cities outside Tehran, teachers also demanded the release of colleagues detained by police, according to Iranian news outlets and rights groups.

"I have no information how many were arrested but I will definitely follow up the cases of arrested teachers," Monadi was quoted as saying by ILNA.

In recent months, teachers and other educators have reportedly taken to the streets of Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, Qom, Kerman, and dozens of other cities across Iran to protest against the failure by the government and lawmakers to fulfill their promises to improve their livelihoods.

Security forces have sometimes responded using heavy-handed tactics and arresting some participants.

The wave of protests come amid high unemployment and soaring inflation exceeding 40 percent over the past year as the impact of government mismanagement and financial sanctions imposed by the United States over Iran’s nuclear program cripple the economy.

​With reporting by Reuters
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