The Islamic Republic’s anti-riot police forces have been deployed to crack down on a protest rally by workers of a copper mine in northwestern Iran.
According to a video sent to Iran International, anti-riot forces are seen attacking the workers of the Sungun (Soungoun) copper mine complex, located in Varzaqan (Varzaghan) county in province of East Azarbaijan, who have been on strike for at least three days demanding better work conditions and salaries.
More than 1,200 workers of the mine -- the largest open-cast copper mine in Iran -- spent the last three nights inside their tents or cars at the site of the mining complex.
During the past few days several of the copper mine workers were arrested by security forces but the clampdown had not been so ferocious until Thursday.
Iran’s runaway inflation, currently at an annual rate of 55 percent, has impoverished a vast majority of the population and is seen as the result of a nuclear program that has brought on international and US sanctions for the past 15 years, crippling the economy.
With food prices rising faster after four years of United States’ ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions, Iranian workers and retirees have been holding regular protests or strikes to demand higher salaries. Last month, Iran’s currency fell to a historic low of 333,000 rials to the US dollar in June.
During the past weeks, widespread protests by workers,shop owners, and teachers protesting against poverty, inflation, and low wages, have been met with heavy-handed crackdown and numerous arrests by the security forces.