To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, the UNESCO and Education International (EI) mount a campaign each year to help give the world better understanding of teachers and the role they play on the spirit and thoughts of future generations in the development of students and society. In Iran, the status quo is just the opposite.

In recent years, teachers in Iran who have called for better working condition launched campaigns and protested against the severe living conditions, very low quality of insurance facilities and a no job security; they have faced harassment and imprisonment. In explicit breech of the International Human Rights Convention, teachers’ protests were attacked by security forces and secret agents of ministry of intelligence. Many teachers and participants were arrested after the protests. One teacher said: “It is quite disgraceful that teachers are being treated like criminals on their protest demanding their rights”

However, despite the fact that, in recent years, the teachers’ protests have been attacked and they have been harassed and imprisoned, their voice has reached the international communities.

On May 21, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his first major policy address to deliver a speech last Monday, in which he demanded that Iran change just about everything regarding its behaviour.

The average teacher’s salary in Iran is about $300 per month. Many of the teachers are obliged to take additional jobs to make a living.

According to an NCRI report, “Millions Of Dollars’ Embezzlement In Teachers’ Investment Fund”,  among the embezzlement, the one related to Teachers’ Pension Fund is different, both in terms of its extent and the amount embezzled, showing yet another aspect of the mafia network within the regime.

“Thousands of billions of tomans (Iran’s currency) were put at the disposal of a few, without them being required to put up any collateral,” says regime’s Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ezhe’i.

Teachers claimed that they were being mistreated and have decided to observe Oct 5, World Teachers’ Day, as a black day to protest.

The teachers’ union has prepared and organised protests and rallies for a full-day strike on Oct 5, in all the main centres and many cities.

In a message on this day in 2016, Iranian Resistance President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, saluted Iranian political prisoners who had gone on hunger strike in support of the rights of Iranian teachers.

Now, after two years, her call for regime change seems to be reasonable as Iran’s behaviour toward teachers has not changed much. The question is – will it?

Hassan Mahmoudiis a human rights advocate specialising in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East.

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