During the past two weeks,  the ongoing wave of protests and strikes in Iran have gained a new intensity.

On the one hand,  the impact of the second and more cruel wave of  the U.S. Trump administration’s  sanctions on Iran is truly breaking the backs of the masses. Although the sanctions which are aimed at stopping Iran’s oil exports,  technically do not include food and medicine imports,  the way in which they prevent banking transactions between Iran and the rest of the world, practically prevents payment for food and medicine.  Thus the majority of Iran’s 82 million people are suffering from the shortage of food, medicine and basic services.  In addition they face the sharp decline in the value of the currency, rial,  astronomical inflation, more lay offs and non-payment of wages,  which are also related to the problems of Iran’s economy prior to the re-imposition of the sanctions.  Given the massive decline in the value of the rial, the  minimum wage is now down to the equivalent of $100 per month  for a family of four, which is lower than  the World Bank’s definition of absolute poverty ($2 per day for each person). 

On the other hand,   Iranian regime leaders,  not only  Ayatollah Khamenei,  but also President Rouhani,  the “reformist”,  have been even more shameless in their public speeches about how “well”  the Iranian economy is still doing and how the masses of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen are supporting the Iranian masses in their “valiant struggle” against U.S. imperialism.   At the same time,  the corruption of government authorities which is  acknowledged by some government leaders  is creating even more anger among the  people.

The oil-producing  and industrial province of Khuzestan in southern Iran continues to be the most active site of labor, environmental and human rights struggles. Continuing strikes of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers (4500 employees) in Shush and the National Steel of Ahvaz (4000 workers) throughout this year have involved the participation of their family members (women and children) and have led to  marches in the cities  of Ahvaz