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Iran Steel Workers Come Out Into The Streets On Sunday

Ahvaz steel factory worker protesting in mid-November.

Videos and images published on social media confirm that steel workers in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province staged a large protest on Sunday and marched in the main streets of the city.

The steel workers have been on strike and holding protests for the past 23 days; almost as long as their peers at the Shush sugarcane mill' also in Khuzestan, are still protesting despite the appointment of a new director at the factory.

Videos show protestors chanting, "Leave Syria to its own, start thinking about us". They also chanted against president Hassan Rouhani for his unfulfilled promises and the state broadcaster for not reflecting the grievances of the workers.

The steel workers demand their overdue wages as well as the return of their factory to public ownership. Both the the steel mill and the sugarcane factory began lagging in production as they were privatized in dubious circumstances. The private owners who paid very small amounts to buy the government-owned industries, stopped paying wages regularly.

Meanwhile, Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) reports that a group of Ahvaz metro workers also protested on Saturday for 18 months of unpaid wages.

Labor protests and strikes have spiked in Iran, as inflation and a sinking national currency have created more hardships. With reimposed U.S. sanctions, the government is also unable to provide more subsidies or assistance to ordinary Iranians.

Iran's economy is a hybrid of mostly public and also some private ownership, but most heavy industries are government owned. With state interference in many aspects of the economy, corruption has also increased, contributing to popular anger and protests.