Trouble for the Mullahs in Iran???
Lots of strikes...may this continue until the regime is toppled....
Down with the Despot!"
That's the slogan chanted in the last few days by thousands of Iranian industrial workers and miners. Reports from more than 30 cities across Iran indicate a nationwide protest movement with a mix of economic and political demands that could threaten the Khomeinist regime.
On Wednesday, a delegation of workers gathered in front of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office in Tehran to demand "an urgent meeting" to discuss "an explosive situation." The standoff with security agents ended when a presidential aide informed the protestors that Ahmadinejad had flown to Istanbul for a regional summit.
A few miles away, workers seeking the formation of independent trade unions gathered in front of the Islamic Majlis, Iran's ersatz parliament, to protest against the government's decision to raise the minimum wage by 6 percent. With the official inflation rate at 11 percent, the workers claim that they face a real reduction in their income.
Also in Tehran, transport workers demonstrated in front of the dreaded Evin Prison to demand the immediate release of their leaders, including Mansour Osanloo and Reza Shahabi. Osanloo, serving a five-year sentence, is in the prison hospital. Shahabi has just ended a 60-day hunger strike protesting his "illegal arrest."
In Qazvin, a major industrial center, striking workers have shut pharmaceutical, textile and ceramic factories. Some textile workers are maintaining a vigil in front of the local governor's office: They haven't received their wages for the last 11 months from a government-owned company.
In Golestan, thousands of miners are on strike, bringing coal production in several areas, notably Qishlaq and Roudbar, to a standstill. There, too, a government-owned company has failed to pay miners' wages in 21 of the province's 42 coal mines.
Ardebil has seen workers' marches and strikes over the last few days, at times with support from local university students.
In the port cities of Bandar Abbas, Bushehr and Khorramshahr, striking truck drivers have provoked massive congestion in unloading imports. Here, the protest is of a 25 percent rise in the price of gas; many drivers who own their vehicles think it will ruin their business.
A nationwide strike by workers and managers of the state-owned Wheat Agency may threaten the country with a bread shortage. The agency controls virtually all of the country's silos and distributes wheat to thousands of privately owned bakers. Workers' action is also reported from the Haft-Tapeh sugar-cane industry, the steel-pipe company in Ahvaz and the petrochemical complex in Mahshahr.
Workers' sources claim that the effort to form independent trade unions has attracted more than 2 million workers, especially in the public sector.