Iran has arrested truckers in the third round of strikes since May. State-run media have reported extensively on the arrests made by security forces, though exact numbers are not known. What is clear is that the Iranian government has chosen to respond to the truck drivers through force, in fear of further protests.
The state-run IRNA news agency quoted the Social Deputy of Fars Province’s State Security Forces as saying that 22 truckers had been arrested in the province.
Kavous Mohammadi said that 22 drivers who “disrupted security and order of the roads,” were arrested and taken to prison.
He vowed to put the roads under surveillance and decisively deal with the “offenders who disrupt public order.”
“Certainly, those who harm people’s lives by blocking the roads and preventing commute would be considered as offenders according to the law and will be decisively dealt with”, Sadegh Niaraki added threatening truckers.
The third round of protests by truck drivers started on September 23.
According to reports on social media, Bazaar merchants and store owners will also go on strike on October 8 in protest to the dollar hike.
Iranian Officials have now resorted to openly threatening protesters with arrest. They accuse the protesters of being influenced by opposition groups abroad.
In a report titled, “Strike Instigators Arrested”, Arman state-run website quoted Hossein Ashtari, Chief Commander of Iran’s Law Enforcement Force, as saying that the calls for strikes in the Bazaar came from abroad.
“With police efforts, some of these groups have been identified and those who were inside the country were arrested and necessary measures were taken”, Hossein Ashtari said.
The Chief of Police also said that striking truck drivers would be arrested.
“Those who block the way for vehicles on the streets are clearly bandits and they should definitely know that as the Chief Prosecutor said, heavy sentences have been issued for them and they will be dealt with”, he added.
According to truckers who spoke to Iran News Wire, a number of truckers they knew were detained in the past few days.
Sources from inside Iran have also reported that the government was hiring Afghan fuel tank drivers to counter the strike.
A truck driver in Karaj told Iran News Wire that all drivers had joined the strike in the city.
“Authorities at the Karaj cement factory are making promises to drivers that if they end their strike, they will be given new tires. Some concrete mixer truck drivers worked for two days but got nothing,” he said.
“So most of them joined the strike again and others will be participating today.”
According to another truck driver from Arak, the Revolutionary Guard Corps forces removed the license plates of trucks that were parked outside striking drivers’ homes.
Another driver from Tehran’s Firuzkuh, told Iran News Wire that IRGC forces went to the homes to seven striking truckers and arrested them.
He said they were taken to an unknown location.