The fourth round of Iran’s truck drivers, which started on November 1, has entered its third day in more than 35 cities and 19 provinces. Videos circulating on social media show parked trucks and empty roads and highways.
The truckers are protesting the high price of maintenance and parts and say that the government has not lived up to any of its promises regarding an increase in fares and lower cost of tires and other spare parts.
Truck drivers are also demanding that the government release truckers that were arrested during the previous rounds of strikes.
According to a report by the state-run Tasnim News Agency, the spokesperson of the Iranian Tire Industry Association said that Chinese banks refused to carry out bank transactions with their Iranian counterparts.
“The lack of currency transfers and rising prices of raw materials has made it hard for tire manufacturers,” he said in the November 2 report.
Since the start of November, China stopped its bank transactions with Iran as a result of the US led sanctions. Since most raw material comes from China, this has stopped the flow of these material into Iran.
However, the problems of Iran’s truck drivers started before November. Their first round of strike started in May when they protested low fares saying that they just could not make ends meet with their current wages. The government not only refused to solve their problems, but cracked down on strikers instead, making more than 200 arrests while threatening truckers with the death penalty.
These threats drew international condemnation from labor unions namely, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
In a video posted by “USA darFarsi”, the State Department’s Farsi Twitter account, Brian Hook, the Director of Policy Planning and Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State, mentioned the strikes including that of Iran’s truck drivers.
“Whenever you hear Iranian government officials talking about how awful America is, they’re usually doing it to distract Iranian people from just how badly this regime has mismanaged and this is a regime that creates imaginary enemies in order to justify their actions and to distract from all the shortcomings that come to light on a pretty regular basis,” he said.
“Now we’re seeing it in about a dozen cities with the truck drivers and teachers who are striking. We see it in the environmental protests. People demanding clean air and clean water. And when they demand clean air and clean water this regime harasses, arrests, and murders people in prison for asking for these basic necessities of life which tells you something about the cruelty of this regime,” Mr. Hook added.