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Iran Justice Workers Hold Rare Protests for Wage Hike 

FILE - President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after taking his oath as president in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Aug. 5, 2021.

Civil servants in one of Iran's most powerful sectors, the judiciary, held rare demonstrations on Sunday against the government's refusal to increase their pay.

Ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi, who assumed his post in August, had proposed a salary hike in the last weeks of his previous job as judicial chief.

But the new government which he leads changed its mind.

Hit by severe economic sanctions imposed since 2018 by the United States, Iran has seen its inflation rate surge to close to 60%.

Shargh, a newspaper representing the reformist viewpoint, on Sunday published video of a protest by hundreds of men and women in front of parliament in Tehran.

"If our problem is not resolved, we will shut down the justice system!" they chanted.

Another reformist paper, Arman Melli, reported: "Some judicial personnel organized rallies yesterday [Saturday] in most of the country's cities to protest the rejection of the plan for parliament to increase their salaries."

The demonstrators held up signs with slogans declaring that "justice workers are unable to support themselves" and decrying the "hypocrisy of the government and parliament."

Meysam Latifi, head of the Administrative and Recruitment Affairs Organization, angered judiciary employees with his remarks in parliament on Wednesday, when the increase was rejected.

"We are concerned about the demand to raise judicial salaries because that would lead to the same thing at other agencies," he said.