Teachers in Iran, who have been demonstrating over the last few weeks are now subject to harassment and arrest. Teachers have been striking and protesting both about their very low pay - about $100 a month which is way below the poverty line - and also about discrimination in education and police repression. They carried banners saying, 'Violence, torture and execution must end!', 'Teacher's place is not in jail' and 'We have the right to organise.'

Since the beginning of the protests police repression has been stepped up, with demonstrations being intimidated by state security forces. At the beginning of this month two teachers, Milad Darvish and Amir Hamzeh Asgari were both arrested and have since been transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison, with no word on the charges against them. This is a very worrying development, given the level of human rights abuses in Iran. Moreover teacher activists who participated in demonstrations on March 8th have been summonsed to appear before interrogators who have demanded that they desist from taking part in union work.

According to one report: “Esmail Abdi, the Secretary General of the Teachers’ Union, was summoned by the MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security) and was pressured to resign. MOIS agents threatened that if he did not resign from his post, he would be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.”

The bravery of Iranian teachers, in continuing to fight for democracy and for democratic education, is an inspiration to those of us all over the world who are struggling for social justice.