In a statement, the Iranian Teachers Association has called on Iranian authorities to release Jafar Ebrahimi. Jafar Ebrahimi is a teacher activist, a member of the Iranian Teachers Association and an inspector of the Teachers’ Trade Organizations’ Coordination Council (TTOCC).
Ebrahimi was arrested two weeks ago while attending a ceremony for the victims of the November protests.
The November protests started at midnight on November 15 after the Iranian government announced a 300% increase in gasoline prices. This resulted in a week-long protest and a violent crackdown. Hundreds of protesters were killed, with thousands wounded and arrested.
On December 26, when he visited the Behesht-e-Sakineh cemetery in the city of Karaj to attend a commemoration of protesters killed during November, he was arrested by security forces. Along with Mr. Ebrahimi, several others were arrested, including some family members of fallen protesters who were attending the commemoration. Some reports suggesting that at least 30 people were arrested in the cemetery on the same day, but there are no accurate reports about the names and numbers of detainees. The Iranian authorities have been quiet about this issue.
Jafar Ebrahimi’s arrest was confirmed by the Ilna news agency and his families, but there has not been extensive information about his case.
“In recent days we have heard the news of the release of some of those who detained on December 26, but we are concerned and disappointed about the extension of the arrest of several of detainees including Jafar Ebrahimi”, according to a statement by the Iranian Teachers Association. The association further asserted that Jafar Ebrahimi has not been involved in any illegal activity, and he was just a regular union activist.
“14 days have passed since his arrest, and there is no clear view about his situation and his charges”, the spokesperson added.
The Teachers Association has called on the Education Ministry of Iran to follow up on the situation of arrested teachers and act effectively.
The Ilna news agency reported on January 5 that Jafar Ebrahimi is still in jail, and the judge has denied bail for this teacher. He has not yet been given any access to legal console or an attorney.
Jafar Ebrahimi has a bachelor in “mathematic education” from Zanjan University and a master in Sociology. He is currently employed as a teacher in a low-income area in the city of Shahryar.
Ahmad Medadi, a former member of the Teachers Union Association, who is also a friend of Jafar Ebrahimi told Zamaneh: “As an activist and a teacher, Jafar’s main focus is on poor kids, child labor, the underclass and unprivileged kids in society.”
Jafar Ebrahimi is a teacher, a union activist, and a social worker.
During the Ahmadinejad presidency, the associations and teachers unions were minimal and were not active.
The new round of activities of the Teachers’ Trade Organizations’ Coordination Council restarted about two years ago, and Ebrahimi was elected as controller of the council.
Ahmad Medadi describes Jafar Ebrahimi as a distinguished teacher and activist.
“What makes Jafar distinguished from others are two points, he was working and collaborating with other associations and civic organizations, he was especially very active in child labor, he was helping in teaching and education of those kids, and he was also a member of Child Labor Assistance Network,” Medadi told Zamaneh
“Not only was he an activist, but also he was a thinker, a writer, and a beautiful mind when it comes to education, kids, and social issues.” he added.
In an article by Jafar published in March 2019, he sharply criticized the educational system in Iran and the Iranian minister of education.
In this article, he noted the destructive role of the minister in the educational system and argued that minsters could accelerate the deterioration of the process of a collapsing society.
“He was very active in theory as well as in practice. He was a critic of the education policies in Iran. He was a serious critic of the privatization of schools and education in Iran. He insisted on and promoted the right to a free education. He was working hard, and he was an influential activist,” Medadi told Zamaneh.
In the Iranian constitution, free education is guaranteed for every citizen.
Article 30 of the Iranian constitution says: “The government must provide all citizens with free education up to secondary school٫ and must expand free higher education to the extent required by the country for attaining self-sufficiency.”
As Medadi told us, Jafar Ebrahimi was heavily involved with the teachers held in jail, following up on their situations and helping their families.
Several teachers and union activists are in prison in Iran. Most of them were arrested after protesting against government policies.
The teacher’s long-sought demands include 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.
Ismail Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Mahmoud Beheshti-Langroudi are among the teachers’ union activists who are currently held in prison.
Teacher’s struggles in Iran have a long history, dating back to before the 1979 Iranian revolution. However, in each period, they have had different demands. In recent decades and mainly because of mismanagement, corruption, and sanctions, their demands have shifted from educational reforms to financial demands.