Teachers in Iran strike over ‘poverty level’ wages

Out-of-control inflation and climbing prices have gripped the country. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Teachers in Iran strike over ‘poverty level’ wages

  • Teachers say their salaries are under pressure because of soaring prices and a severe drop in purchasing power because of the fall in value of the Iranian rial
  • Iran’s economy has been struggling in particular since May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program

JEDDAH: Protest strikes in Iran by truckers and bazaar storekeepers have spread to the country’s schools.

Thousands of teachers have been on strike for the past three days over what they describe as “poverty level” pay.

“In this land not only teachers but all should live in conditions fit for human beings,” striking teacher Jafar Ebrahimi told the Iranian website Meidaan. “They must raise our salaries above the poverty line.”

The strike was called by the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI). Teachers say their salaries are under pressure because of soaring prices and a severe drop in purchasing power because of the fall in value of the Iranian rial.

Iran’s economy has been struggling in particular since May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. Tough economic sanctions, relaxed under the deal, were reimposed in August. Further sanctions targeting Iran’s oil trade begin on Nov. 4.

“Out-of-control inflation and climbing prices have gripped the country, and the purchasing power of teachers, like that of many other hard-working classes, has fallen significantly,” the CCTSI said before the strike. 

“What’s more, the cost of education is on the rise, and the Iranian government and Parliament have failed to answer to teachers’ faltering quality of life and the ailing education system. The time has come for us to protest against this systemic disorder.”

Support for the striking teachers came from Maryam Rajavi, president of Iran’s exiled de facto opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Rajavi urged the Iranian people, particularly the youth, to join her in solidarity with the teachers, the truck drivers and the bazaar merchants. Truckers in the northwestern province of Qazvin have been on strike for three weeks in protest at the cost of spare parts for their vehicles, and many storekeepers have closed their premises in support.

“Since anti-government demonstrations erupted throughout Iran in December, strikes have become a popular way for citizens of different walks of life and social classes to protest against the corruption and inefficiency of the Iranian regime,” the NCRI said.


Erdogan and Putin vow closer cooperation on Syria at Moscow talks

Updated 23 January 2019
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Erdogan and Putin vow closer cooperation on Syria at Moscow talks

  • The two leaders are on opposite sides of the Syria conflict
  • Russia and Turkey have agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday vowed to coordinate their actions more closely in Syria.
“Cooperation between Russia and Turkey is a touchstone for Syrian peace and stability,” Erdogan said in translated comments at a joint press conference after their talks, which lasted around three hours.
“With our Russian friends we intend to strengthen our coordination even more.”
“We agreed how we’ll coordinate our work in the near future,” Putin said, calling the talks which included the countries’ defense ministers “effective.”
At the start of their meeting in the Kremlin, Putin addressed Erdogan as “dear friend,” saying that their countries “work on issues of regional security and actively cooperate on Syria.”
Erdogan used the same term for Putin and said “our solidarity makes a weighty contribution to the security of the region.”
The two leaders are on opposite sides of the Syria conflict: Russia provides critical support to the Syrian government, while Turkey has backed rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Despite this, they have worked closely to find a political solution to the seven-year conflict.
Russia and Turkey have agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria following US President Donald Trump’s shock announcement last month about pulling 2,000 American troops out of Syria.
Putin said that if carried out, the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria “will be a positive step, it will help stabilize the situation in this restive area.”
Turkey has also welcomed Washington’s planned withdrawal, but the future of US-backed Kurdish militia forces labelled terrorists by Ankara has upset ties between the NATO allies.
Erdogan had said on Monday he would discuss with Putin the creation of a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in northern Syria, suggested by Trump.
The US-allied Kurds, who control much of the north, have rejected the idea, fearing a Turkish offensive against territory under their control.
Putin said Wednesday that Russia supports “establishing dialogue between Damascus officials and representatives of the Kurds.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week said that Damascus must take control of the north.
The northwestern province of Idlib earlier this month fell under the full control of a jihadist group dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
The Russian foreign ministry said earlier Wednesday that the situation in the province remained of “serious concern.”
Putin said that the leaders discussed the situation in Idlib “in great detail today.”
“We have a shared conviction that we must continue jointly fighting terrorists wherever they are, including in the Idlib zone,” the Russian leader said.
Erdogan said that the countries will wage a “lengthy fight” in Syria.
Nearly eight years into Syria’s deadly conflict, the planned US pullout has led to another key step in Assad’s Russian-backed drive to reassert control.
Kurdish forces who were left exposed by Trump’s pledge to withdraw have asked the Syrian regime for help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.
The Kremlin hailed the entry by Syrian forces into the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years after Kurds opened the gates.
Moscow plans to organize a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran early this year as part of the Astana peace process, launched by the three countries in 2017.
Putin said Wednesday the next summit would be held “in the near future” in Russia, saying the leaders still needed to agree the time and location with Iran.
The last meeting between Putin, Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani took place in Iran in September last year with the fate of rebel-held Idlib province dominating the agenda.
Ties between Russia and Turkey plunged to their lowest level in years in November 2015 when Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane over Syria.
But after a reconciliation deal in 2016, relations have recovered at a remarkable speed with Putin and Erdogan cooperating closely over Syria, Turkey buying Russian-made air defense systems and Russia building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.