Kurdistan Teachers Association member held after peaceful protests

Mokhtar Asadi
Mokhtar Asadi, left, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association was detained in Iran.

Iranian authorities have detained a teachers union member in northwestern Kurdistan province.

Iranian security agents arrested Mokhtar Asadi, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, in Sanandaj as he traveled home with his family on Thursday.
Asadi’s family said that the agents arrested him without a warrant and took him to an unknown location.

Mokhtar Asadi has been arrested several times for peacefully advocating teachers’ rights.
He was released from prison in July 2018 after serving a year in prison.

Just hours before Asadi’s arrest, Iranian Teachers and retired educators had rallied outside education departments in the northern cities of Ardabil and Urmia, the northwestern cities of Kermanshah, Marivan, and Sanandaj, and in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

They were calling on the regime to respond to their demands, which they’ve been reiterating regularly for most of the past year.

It was the largest-scale protest by Iranian teachers since mid-November when elementary and high school teachers staged sit-ins and held protest signs in and outside their offices in at least 27 cities.

In October, a second round of strikes by Iranian teachers, which lasted for two days, expanded to 103 cities.

One of the main demands of the teachers is the release of teacher activists from prison. The teachers in Wednesday’s rallies were holding placards that read, “In a country where teachers are behind bars, we can only weep blood.”

According to reports, the Iranian regime had dispatched plainclothes agents and suppressive forces to disperse protesters in various locations.

The teachers were also protesting against low wages and pensions, especially as the rial, Iran’s national currency has plummeted in the past year.

Teachers earn less than $100 a month based on free-market exchange rates, which isn’t even enough to make ends meet and below the poverty rate declared by the regime itself.

Rising prices and government corruption have also made conditions worse for teachers and other communities across Iran.

The teachers were also demanding free education for the young generation and the right for minorities to teach in their own language.