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Unionists Arrested During Educators Rally In Iran

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Several teachers have been arrested amid nationwide rallies addressing the country’s ongoing education crisis.

A Bushehr Teachers Union member, Reza Amanifar, was arrested as Iranian educators took to the streets on Thursday. The demonstration followed the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations’ call for a nationwide rally with protests held in the face of a heavy presence of security forces in areas such as Yasuj and Rasht.

Also, three education activists were arrested in Tehran for demonstrating in front of the Planning and Budget Organization. According to the Teachers Association Telegram channel, they were released shortly thereafter, amid intenstified security and judicial pressures on teachers’ union activists.

On Wednesday, International Workers’ Day, Esmaeil Abdi, a teacher, civil activist, and member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Union who has been arrested and imprisoned for his union activities on multiple occasions, was summoned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence. An additional 17 teachers and union activists from Sanandaj city have also been summoned to the city’s security institutions.

A statement issued by the Teachers Association before today’s gatherings pointed out a “decrease in student motivation for learning due to the high cost of living and inflation” with many excluded from education since 2022 for supporting the nationwide uprising sparked by the death in morality-police custody of Mahsa Amini.

“Security forces and the judiciary suppressed and threatened demanding teachers rather than battling embezzlers and corrupt individuals,” the statement added, with wide-sweeping sacking of teachers who have supported protests since 2022. 

In December, a report slammed the country’s education system saying it “has turned into an arena for those in power to pursue their political goals,” explaining that schoolbooks and teacher training and selection have become engineering tools to ensure the political and ideological goals.

Religious censorship has invaded many textbooks, including literature and history, and reports indicate that religious extremists controlling parliament and enjoying influence in the presidential administration, have begun hiring thousands of their followers as teachers and school principals, regardless of qualification.

Amid the 2022 uprising, thousands of students suffered mysterious poisoning, suspected to have been a state-sanctioned means of suppression as the country rose up in its biggest anti-government action since the founding of the Islamic Republic.