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Features

Keyvan Samimi: The Streets are the Only Way for Striking Iranian Workers

July 6, 2021
OstanWire
2 min read
Keyvan Samimi: The Streets are the Only Way for Striking Iranian Workers

The journalist Keyvan Samimi, who has been imprisoned in Iran for much of the last decade, has posted on his Telegram channel in support of the nationwide strike by oil and gas workers.

The former editor of Nameh was arrested after the 2009 protests against the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and later sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and a lifetime ban on media activity. He was arrested again in 2019 on Labor Day and sentenced to another five years in prison, which he began serving last August.

In a post on his Telegram channel on Monday, July 5, the veteran reporter threw his weight behind the thousands of employees on strike at petrochemical facilities across Iran.

"The government’s continuation of bad strategies and policies,” he wrote, “has left no other possible or desirable route than taking to the streets to demand the rights of the workers.  

"Most people have been demanding change for many years, through reformism and the ballot box. But unfortunately, the rulers’ ideological stance does not consider the people's vote to be the basis for legitimacy and acceptance; [they] consider it merely an ornament to beautify the obsolete Islamic Emirate."

The imprisoned journalist said in his view, the workers’ protests were the latest manifestation in the “discourse of demand” engendered in Iran by official bad management and inaction. Elsewhere on Telegram, Samimi wrote: “In social relations, no phenomenon or commodity can be acquired without paying for it, unless through evil methods.

“Obviously, the cost of participating in peaceful street protests, which strengthen the non-violent social movement and the gradual realization of the nation's demands, is greater than the cost of participating in the reformist movement."

He added: “Discrimination, ideological coercion, repression, and 40 years of religious tyranny have produced nothing but widespread anger and resentment. It should come as no surprise that there are thoughts in favor of overthrowing the government through foreign intervention or by factions supported by foreign powers."

At the close, Samimi argued that the only “radical and lasting” way to extricate Iran from poverty and corruption would be through supporting the workers’ street protests and in time, through structural change.

Two weeks ago, oil and gas workers across Iran downed tools in protest against low and unpaid wages, unsafe working conditions and contractual disparities. The strike has been supported by Iraqi and global trade unions and has affected more than 50 different facilities.

Related coverage:

Mass Strike Action at Iranian Oil and Gas Plants

Oil Strikes in Iran: What are the Contract Workers' Demands?

Unions Back Striking Oil Workers as Parliament Ignores Demands

Message From a Prisoner: Our State is the Foreign State

Keyvan Samimi, Crime: Journalism

“You Cannot Kill an Idea by Putting a Person in Prison”

The Tangled Web of Political and Security Charges against Journalists and Labor Activists

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