A strike by Iranian truck drivers angered about rising business costs has stretched into a seventh day, indicating many truckers are dissatisfied with Iranian government offers to address their grievances.
Images verified by VOA Persian, dated Monday and sent by Iranians, show truck drivers gathering in support of the strike in three Iranian provinces – Fars, Kermanshah and Qazvin.
One video received by VOA Persian shows a convoy of truckers driving their vehicles slowly on a highway from the city of Kavar to Shiraz, capital of Fars province. At least 30 trucks can be seen passing by the shooter of the video clip, who says around 400 vehicles participated in the slow-drive protest. Many of the truckers in the convoy honked their horns in a display of excitement at the large turnout of vehicles.
Protesting Iranian truck drivers slow-drive their vehicles in Kavar, Iran, on May 28, 2018.
A second clip shows a line of trucks parked on a highway in the Kermanshah provincial city of Kangavar, with dozens of striking drivers standing on the road and cheering as several more trucks drive by. The speaker in the video talks about how the strike is continuing despite Iranian officials saying it is over.
Iranian truck drivers park their vehicles on a highway in a show of solidarity with a national truckers strike, in Kangavar, Iran, on May 28, 2018.
Iranian truckers began the strike on May 22 in the provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Isfahan, Kerman, Khorasan Razavi, Lorestan and Qazvin, according to earlier images and messages sent to VOA Persian. Since then, the striking truckers have displayed signs complaining of stagnant wages as they face rising costs for insurance, road tolls, commissions, repairs and spare parts.
In an interview published Thursday by Iran’s state-run ILNA news agency, a Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization official said a proposed increase to truckers’ cargo wages was progressing.
Dariush Amani was quoted as saying cargo fees paid to Iranian truckers would rise by an average of 15 percent nationwide, beginning on May 26. He said the increase may be as low as 10 percent in some places and as high as 20 percent in others. Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization is a branch of the ministry of roads and urban development with the authority to regulate cargo fees.
The participation of gasoline tanker truck drivers in the strike has caused gasoline shortages in several cities, including Isfahan and Shiraz. Iranian state media said authorities intervened to persuade drivers to resume gas station deliveries in both cities after hourslong stoppages.
Iran’s Islamist rulers long have worried that gasoline shortages could trigger social unrest.
This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Persian Service.