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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 15:47 GMT
Iran's teachers protest poor pay
Teachers demonstrating outside Tehran's parliament
Teachers shouted angry slogans at MPs
By the BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran

Thousands of Iranian teachers have taken part in a big demonstration outside parliament in Teheran, demanding higher pay and better conditions.

It was the fourth time in recent weeks that the teachers have staged protests on the capital's streets and they are threatening to go on strike.

The teachers are proving extremely stubborn in pursuit of their grievances and they are not shy of causing embarrassment to political leaders.

Thousands of them gathered outside parliament, demanding to talk to the speaker.

Jeering

A number of well-known reformist deputies came out of the building, but their attempts to address the teachers were foiled by booing and jeering until they were forced to give up.

Iranian teachers sit down during a demonstration against poor pay and conditions
Teachers demand the resignation of the current education minister

The teachers waved their own pay slips and challenged the MPs to produce theirs.

They shouted angry slogans, accusing the deputies of high living and they demanded the resignation of the education minister.

They also warned that they would call on the students to come out in their support.

Strike threat

But most damaging is their threat to observe a nationwide strike in the next few days if their demands are not met.

This was the fourth time in just over three weeks that teachers have staged such angry demonstrations, which have been given official authorisation.

They are also planning to march again on Saturday, this time to President Mohammad Khatami's headquarters.

The protest passed off peacefully, though reporters trying to cover the event were detained by security men and had their films and tapes confiscated.

Many teachers earn less than the equivalent of $150 a month, which they say is impossible to live on.

Now they seem determined to keep up their protests until they win a better deal.

See also:

08 Mar 01 | Middle East
Iran clears way for female students
15 Jan 02 | Middle East
Iran's slow struggle for reform
27 Dec 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
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