Several Iranian teachers have been arrested in recent days. Activists have raised concerns about their conditions in prison.
On May 2, Iranian teachers gathered in front of local offices of the Education Ministry in several cities to protest against government policies. In the Iranian official calendar, May 2 is Iran’s National Teachers’ Day.
According to activist sources, an unidentified number of teachers were arrested in those protests. Among them were the head of Tehran’s Teachers’ Union and its other high-ranking members.
Holding placards, teachers called for their long-sought demands: wage increase and improvement of living conditions for both employees and pensioners, proper health insurance coverage, an end to privatization and commodification of education, providing free and high-quality education for all children, freedom of association and the right to form and join independent unions.
Although a few of the detained teachers have been released since May 2, some are still in prison. Since then, there has been no information on their conditions.
Before those arrests, several other teachers have also been arrested. Among them are Haleh Safarzadeh, who was arrested for her activities relating to International Workers’ Day, and four other teachers who took part in independent aid and rescue groups after the recent floods in Iran.
There are no updates on the conditions of the newly arrested teachers in Iran, activists warn.
In the last 24 months, Iranian teachers staged three nation-wide strikes. But in the final declaration of Teacher’s Day March on May 2, they wrote that “not even one positive step has been taken towards improving the daily life of Iranian teachers”.