The Iranian government is growing concerned about recent labor protests throughout the country over unpaid wages. Recently, 1,300 workers at a pipe factory in Saveh went on a strike for a few hours because they had not been paid for a month. Four hundred workers at a factory in Arak protested that they had not received salaries in six months. Municipal workers in the city of Andimeshk staged a four-day sit-in at the municipal building, because their salaries had been delayed for 13 months. And last week, 700 workers at the Alborz Tire factory in Islamshahr protested against unpaid wages. Sadeq Karegar, a union activist living in Norway, believes that salary matters are not the only issue and that workers are protesting because their living conditions are getting worse: “It’s a matter of hunger."
Laar Residents Protest Over Province Status
Since Monday, residents of the southern Iranian city of Laar have demonstrated against the declaration of the neighboring Gerash district as a city. The residents of Laar are especially frustrated by Gerash’s new status, as their city has long been denied province status. Demonstrators said they will continue to protest until the government declares Laar a province. According to one eyewitness, police arrested nearly 50 residents who blocked some roads as part of the protest. Another eyewitness told Radio Farda that Laar citizens said they will not open their shops and they have even warned that they will close schools. One of Laar’s leading clerics asked protesting youths to “care about their lives… We need you. Don’t put your life at risk for nothing... Yesterday I saw young men shot with crowd-control bullets. I was despondent.”