Rivers dry and fields dust, Iranian farmers turn to protest

Farmers in central Iran are increasingly turning to protests, pleading to authorities for a solution as years of drought and government mismanagement of water destroy their livelihoods. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Rivers dry and fields dust, Iranian farmers turn to protest

  • Protests have repeatedly broken out over economic woes in Iran
  • Every day, farmers hold a small protest outside Varzaneh, gathered around their tractors, long idle

VARZANEH, Iran: Farmers in central Iran are increasingly turning to protests, pleading to authorities for a solution as years of drought and government mismanagement of water destroy their livelihoods.
Protests have repeatedly broken out over economic woes in Iran, which has been enduring its worth drought in decades. Experts say the drought’s impact has been worsened as newly built factories soak up what little water there is.
Every day, farmers hold a small protest outside Varzaneh, gathered around their tractors, long idle, parked at the town entrance next to a canal that once irrigated their fields but has been dry for years.
The rallies have gotten larger, with bursts of violence, at a time when economic woes in the country from inflation to unemployment have fueled unrest repeatedly over the last year.


Oman to replace scores of expat nurses as visa ban continues

Updated 7 min 18 sec ago
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Oman to replace scores of expat nurses as visa ban continues

  • Oman has been gradually increasing the level jobs closed to expats
  • Oman has seen a significant increase in the number of its citizens in employment since the visa ban was introduced

DUBAI: Scores of expat nurse are to be replaced by Omani nationals in the ongoing Omanization project aimed at getting more locals into work, Times of Oman reported.

There will be 200 nurses replaced across the country, Oman’s Ministry of Health, confirmed - applications will be open from March to 14.

Oman’s government introduced a six-month expat visa ban in January last year, which was later extended.  

The visa ban, implemented at the end of January last year, resulted in the hiring of 64,386 Omanis in private sector companies and establishments and 4,125 more in government agencies.

Gulf countries have been historically dependent on expatriate workers to power their economies; with a 2013 study indicating as much as 71 percent of Oman’s labor force are non-nationals. In Qatar, expatriate workforce was as high as 95 percent while in the UAE it was 94 percent; 83 percent in Kuwait; 64 percent in Bahrain and 49 percent in Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf states have since launched nationalization programs to absorb more of their citizens into the labor force, as well as address high levels of unemployment.

Between December 2018 and November last year, a total of 60,807 expatriate workers left Oman’s labor force or an equivalent 3.6 percent reduction in their numbers, which now stands at 1,734,882.