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On World Teachers' Day jailed teacher Esmail Abdi has laid bare the horrendous conditions faced by pupils and teachers in Iran.

Esmail, who is currently locked up on trumped-up charges in Tehran for speaking out against the regime has issued a plea for solidarity from teachers and unions around the world.

He said those who speak out face "intimidation, detention and imprisonment" but despite this are campaigning for better conditions in schools.

Teachers face not getting paid for months on end and many schools are in an unsafe condtition, he said.

Esmail and fellow jailed activist Mahmood Baheshti Langroodi have issued a statement with the Iran Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) reminding the world of the appaling situation faced by teacher trade unionists and human rights activists.

They said:

"Whilst teachers celebrate World Teachers' Day there are countries, including Iran, where teachers are persecuted for pursuing their legitimate demands.

"In Iran teachers and workers unofficial trade unions are banned from organising their assemblies and public gatherings, and are subject to intimidation, detention and imprisonment.

"Teachers in Iran are fighting to stop education turning into business trade. Teachers are campaigning for free and improved educational provisions.

"Through implementing a liberal market economy, the Islamic Republic incessantly attacks wages and as a result innumerable children drop from school and too many children are having to turn to becoming street vendors.

"According to government statistics the educational department will face almost 300,000 teaching staff vacancies for 2018-2019.

"All teachers whether on permanent employment, temporary or daily-paid teachers are going through severe hardship, because they have not received any payment for months.

"As a normal occurrence, daily-paid teachers often would not receive any payment for up to six months.

"The Education Department will delay teachers` overtime payment for many months.

"Teachers reserve funds have been looted by the government.

"Great numbers of pupils go to schools, lacking in safety standards and proper educational facilities.

"In the course of past few years, a number of students and teachers lost their lives due to sub-standard school buildings.

"The Islamic Republic has trampled teachers' and workers' rights to organise independent trade unions, right to strike and right to expression. 

"According to official statistics, street vendor children exceeded 1.7 million. We believe these innocent children should go to school and enjoy playing with their peers.

"Iran is a multi-linguistic and cultural country. However, Farsi is the only recognised language and as such, children of different ethnic background are deprived of reading in their mother tongue.

"Iranian teachers demand a scrutinised, publicly owned educational discipline.

"We strongly believe that the solidarity of the international Teachers’ Trade Unions with Iranian teachers’ struggle is invaluable and will put effectual pressure on Islamic Republic to address our just demands.

"Finally, we imprisoned Iranian teachers looking forward to hearing solidarity from international teachers towards our sacrifice and endeavours for building independent trade union and desired educational system.

"Long live international solidarity of teachers." 

With best wishes
Esmail Abdi, Mahmoud -Beheshti- Langroodi
Evin Prison, Tehran, 05/10/2018


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