The head of Iran's judicial authority on Monday warned restive workers against creating "disorder,” while calling on the government to address their problems.
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani spoke amid efforts to resolve a weeks-long strike at a major sugar factory in western Iran and popular discontent over rising prices.
"Workers should not allow their demands to become an excuse and an instrument for the enemy and creation of disorder in the country," Larijani said, quoted by the judiciary's news agency Mizan Online.
Acknowledging that many workers are struggling to make ends meet, he said the government must address workers' problems "immediately," according to Mizan.
"The demands of dear workers must be met in a rational atmosphere... with the involvement of the government and the judiciary branch," he said.
But "demands will never be met by turmoil, crisis and actions contrary to public order," he said.
A strike by workers at the Haft Tapeh sugar factory in Shush, a city in Khuzestan province, on Monday entered its 22nd day, according to the reformist ILNA news agency.
Workers are protesting against salary arrears and alleged criminal activity by managers.
The business has around 4,000 workers and was privatized in 2016.
The workers said on Monday that they have been paid their salaries for the period August 23 to 22 September, ILNA said.
ILNA said three out of four workers that it had reported arrested on November 18 have subsequently been freed.
Iran has been hit by strikes over working conditions in several key sectors this year, including education, mines, transport and the steel industry, mainly outside Tehran.
Inflation stands at 36.9 percent, according to the latest monthly data published by the central bank.