BEIRUT: Iran has arrested almost 40 teachers nationwide before and since May 1 protests, Human Watch Rights has said, calling for their release.

Quoting the reformist Emtedad news website, the watchdog said that as of May 1 Iranian authorities had arrested 38 teachers.

“At least 17 of them are still detained, including Mohammad Habibi, the Iranian Teachers Trade Association’s (ITTA) spokesperson, the watchdog reported on Thursday.

It said the arrests came after the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Cultural Teachers Associations called for a nationwide protest on May 1 -- on the eve of National Teachers’ Day.

“Iranian authorities have yet again decided to lock up people for seeking to organise to assert their collective rights instead of working with independent associations to ensure respect for Iranians’ economic and social rights,” said senior HRW researcher Tara Sepehri Far.

“Attempting to silence peaceful mobilisation and protests won’t make Iran’s dismal economic reality go away.” Iranian teachers have taken to the streets repeatedly in recent months to protest conditions, and also the arrest of colleagues.

Published in Dawn,May 7th, 2022

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