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Hundreds of teachers rally at protests in cities across Iran

Teachers and educators march to denounce the slow implementation of promised salary and pension reforms

Illustrative: Students and their teacher at the Hashtroudi school in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Illustrative: Students and their teacher at the Hashtroudi school in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Hundreds of teachers on Thursday rallied in several Iranian cities to denounce the slow implementation of salary and pension reforms, state media reported.

In Gilan province on the Caspian Sea coast, around 150 teachers marched in the city of Rasht, while another 70 did so in Lahijan, the state broadcaster reported.

The protesters chanted slogans such as “if embezzlement is reduced, our problems will be solved,” and “we only heard promises, we didn’t see justice,” the network said.

In Iran’s third-largest city, Isfahan, around 300 teachers demonstrated, the Mehr news agency reported, adding that another protest was held in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province in the southwest.

Social media platforms showed similar protests in Neyshabur in the northeast, Kermanshah in the west and Khorramshahr in the southwest.

The protesters are demanding that the government move more quickly on a planned grading system for teachers based on experience and performance. They also want their pensions to be aligned with the salaries of working teachers as soon as possible.

Hit by severe economic sanctions imposed since 2018 by the United States, Iran has seen inflation soar to close to 60 percent, exacting a heavy toll on the standard of living of public sector staff and others on fixed incomes.

Civil servants in one of Iran’s most powerful sectors, the judiciary, held rare demonstrations on Sunday against the government’s refusal to increase their pay.

On Monday, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri threatened to prosecute the protesters.

Ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi, who assumed his post in August, had proposed a salary hike in the last weeks of his previous job as judicial chief. But the new government which he leads changed its mind.

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