By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Thousands of teachers across Iran have again taken to the streets to call for higher wages.
Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency, which focuses on labor issues, reports that silent protests were held on May 7 in more than a dozen Iranian cities, including Tehran, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Sanandaj.
Reports say that, in the Iranian capital, an estimated 3,000 teachers protested peacefully in front of the parliament amid the heavy presence of security forces.
Silent protests in other cities were reportedly held in front of the buildings of the Islamic republic's education ministry.
ILNA reported that, ahead of protests, numerous teachers were summoned by security officials and allowed to go free on the condition that they would not participate in the May 7 rallies.
Photographs of the protests show demonstrators holding signs warning against "discrimination" and "poverty" among teachers due to their low wages.
"Our gathering is not political," read one of the signs held by protesting teachers in Tehran.
Another sign read: "Teacher shouts, media censors."
Some of the signs also called for the release of teachers who have been jailed due to their rights campaigns.
They include Alireza Hashemi, head of the Teachers' Organization, who was arrested last month and transferred to Tehran's Evin prison to serve a five-year sentence.
Hashemi was convicted on charges that included acting against Iran's national security.
In recent months, Iranian teachers have held several public gatherings to demand better wages. Last month, nationwide protests by teachers were held in some 20 cities against low wages and inadequate living conditions.
In a May 6 meeting with a group of teachers, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned that Iran's "enemies" are trying to exploit teachers' problems.
Khamenei said that "those bearing a grudge against the Islamic establishment" intend to fabricate "seditionist, factional, and political slogans under the pretext of the teachers' livelihoods and cause trouble to the [Islamic] establishment."
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