DUBAI: Iranian oil workers have threatened to go on strike if the government crackdown against protesters continued, a move that could cripple the country’s economy dependent on hydrocarbon revenues.
“We support the people’s struggles against organized and everyday violence against women and against the poverty and hell that dominates the society,” the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said on September 26, in a report from Radio Farda.
Iranian crude oil and natural gas exports accounted for 18 percent of GDP and about one-quarter of government revenues in 2019, according to estimates.
Massive unrest has roiled Iran, with protests spreading to more than 80 cities and towns, after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while under custody by morality police on September 13 for allegedly for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
Meanwhile, Iran’s police command warned on Wednesday that the force would come down hard on protests that erupted nearly two weeks ago over the death of a young woman in custody.
“Today, the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and some rioters seek to disrupt the order, security and comfort of the nation using any pretext,” the police command said in a statement.
“Police officers will oppose with all their might the conspiracies of counter-revolutionaries and hostile elements, and deal firmly with those who disrupt public order and security anywhere in the country,” it said, quoted by Fars news agency.
Fars news agency said on Tuesday that “around 60” people had been killed since Amini’s death on September 16, up from the official toll of 41 authorities reported on Saturday.
Officials said Monday they had made more than 1,200 arrests, including of activists, lawyers and journalists.
Amini’s death has sparked the first big show of opposition on the streets since authorities crushed protests against a rise in gasoline prices in 2019.
Labor protests in Iran also have been on the rise in recent months in response to declining living standards and state support as crippling Western sanctions bear on the economy.