Hundreds of teachers have joined protests in more than 50 Iranian cities, demanding higher salaries and better labor conditions.

Reports indicated that teachers protested in the capital, Tehran, as well as Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Rasht, Qom, and other cities around the country.

Reports said at least three protesters were detained.

The teachers reportedly criticized what they referred to as the government’s “indifference to education” while also calling for the release of their detained colleagues.

The protesters demanded that the government move more quickly on a planned grading system for teachers based on experience and performance. They also want their pensions to be aligned with the salaries of working teachers as soon as possible.

“Rise up! Rise up!” some of the protesters chanted in Tehran, according to amateur videos posted online.

The protesters also chanted slogans such as: “If embezzlement is reduced, our problems will be solved!”; “We only heard promises, we didn’t see justice.”; and “Incompetent parliament, shame on you!”

Teachers have staged several protests in recent weeks. Security forces have sometimes responded using heavy-handed tactics and arresting some participants.

The protests come amid soaring inflation as the impact of crippling U.S. sanctions and years of mismanagement have hit the country hard.

Last month, Iran’s parliament passed legislation to raise teachers’ salaries following several days of countrywide protests and a strike that impacted the Islamic republic’s education system.

Measures passed by legislators on December 15 guarantee teachers will earn about 80 percent of the salaries of university faculty members, one of the protesters’ demands.

Education Minister Yousef Nouri promised that the law, which had been repeatedly introduced in parliament in recent years but failed to pass, would be swiftly implemented after its approval, the government news agency IRNA reported.

With reporting by AFP

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