Wave of Arrests after Teachers’ Strike
Tehran: November 15, 2018
Since the end of a nationwide teacher’s strike in October, at least 30 teachers have been arrested and several others have received threatening messages or have been summoned for questioning, according to reports from the Coordination Committee of Iranian Teachers Association. The two-day sit-in began on October 14 in more than 50 cities, and followed an increase in tensions between teachers and government officials after the arrest and prosecution of six teachers in May. The striking teachers called for “equality in education,” “safe schools,” and the right to “teach the mother tongue in bilingual regions,” as well as improvements in pay and insurance.
Revolutionary Guards Commander: Our Problems Have Nothing to do with the Revolution
Isfahan: November 14, 2018
As the economic crisis continues in Iran, pointing fingers has become a national pastime. “Our problems have nothing to do with the revolution,” said General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the Revolutionary Guards’ Deputy for Social and Cultural Affairs, in response to people’s grievances, which he said “should be directed at the culprits of social and economic problems” — an implicit accusation aimed at President Rouhani and his administration. He even went so far as to blame the people themselves: “If there are problems, the blame lies not with the revolution, but with the people’s choice[s].”
The general also took the opportunity to comment his view of the value of international diplomacy: “No country’s economy has flourished through negotiations and foreign relations. Negotiations are not the way to make the economy flourish,” he said.
Second Woman — Ever — to Speak at Friday Prayers
East Azerbaijan: November 16, 2018
On November 16, Zahra Saei, a member of the parliament from East Azerbaijan, became the second woman ever to deliver a speech at a Friday Prayers gathering in Iran. When giving her speech before the prayers started in the provincial capital of Tabriz, she championed the cause of homeless children, their education and their health.
The first woman to deliver a speech at a Friday Prayers ceremony was Elham Charkhandeh, a controversial actress who has now become very religious and currently presents herself as an “Ambassador of Chastity and Hijab.” In Charkhandeh’s speech, delivered in February 2018 in Mashhad Ardehal, Isfahan province, she promoted pilgrimage to a shrine in the city.
Bread Prices Rise but Quality Falls
Qom: November 16, 2018
Bakers in Qom face financial challenges that make baking bread economically unviable, according to Mahmoud Sijani, the head of Qom’s Industries, Mines and Commerce Organization. At the same time, he praised bakers for continuing to selflessly serve the people. He said bread prices in the province had gone up by 10 percent. In apparent support of these observations, Morteza Khatami, a member of the parliament, said it would be unfair to blame bakers for the drop in bread quality considering the current economic conditions.
Bread is the predominant food staple for most Iranians. So when the prices and quality fluctuate, this has an immediate impact on people’s lives. In fact, grievances over bread shortages were a key factor in the 1905 Constitutional Revolution in Iran.
Garbage Inundates Northern Provinces
Mazandaran: November 17, 2018
The northern Iranian provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan are celebrated for their lush subtropical forests, scenic rivers and pristine nature. But now, according to Ali Mohammad Shaeri, a member of the parliament’s Agricultural Committee, this cherished nature is being buried under garbage. Most of the 6,000 tons of garbage that the provinces produce, he said, are discarded in nature, polluting the soil and the water. Shaeri warned that the “ecosystem of the north is in danger,” and urged the government to take garbage management seriously.