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Authorities make number of arrests after oil workers protest in Iran

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Iranian authorities have made a number of arrests after a union rally in a key oil-producing region, a local official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“Workers at a petrochemical plant at Asalouyeh organized a union meeting” on Monday morning, local governor Ali Hashemi was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.

The port in Bushehr province in southern Iran is home to the Islamic Republic’s vital South Pars gas and oil complex.

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“Unfortunately, a number of opportunists... infiltrated” the gathering and “set fire to construction sheds and rubbish bins,” Hashemi told the news agency.

“When the security forces intervened, these people dispersed and some arrests were made,” Hashemi said, without elaborating.

The official IRNA news agency denied what it called “information from Persian-language media hostile to the revolution” that there had been any strike by workers in the area.

It described production at the petrochemical works as “normal.”

IRNA said “just a few dozen workers” had protested at a plant over “non-payment of their wages,” adding that some 40,000 people work at Pars South.

The incident comes during more than three weeks of protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year old Iranian of Kurdish origin, who had been arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code for women.

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