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Iranian sugarcane workers call for government to resign on 45tn day of strike action

IRANIAN sugarcane workers demanded the resignation of the government today as they marched in blistering heat on their 45th day of strike action over unpaid wages and privatisation.

Hundreds of workers took to the streets in face masks, chanting anti-government slogans as they doused themselves with water to keep cool in the 50°C temperature.

Around half of the 5,000 workers at the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory in Shush, south-western Iran, walked out on June 12 after they had gone nearly three months without wages.

They are also demanding the reinstatement of trade unionists that were sacked during a previous dispute and for the factory to be returned to the public sector.

The Haft Tappeh factory was founded in 1961 and produced as much as 100,000 tons of sugar a year.

It was privatised in 2016 in a controversial deal when it was sold to Mehrdad Rostami and Omid Asadbeigi at auction for 218 billion tomans (about £40 million), around 10 per cent of the estimated value.

Workers claim that huge amounts of cash have been embezzled by the new owners. Mr Asadbeigi is currently standing trial on charges of currency misconduct.

He has admitted in court that he bribed Khuzestan province governor Gholamreza Shariati by paying his wife $200,000 (£154,211.)

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