by Atousa Pilger
The HEPCO Company is the largest manufacturer of road construction machinery in the Middle East, and has been in business for the past 43 years. As the regime transfers large private industries and factories to its own authorities, the company’s production, which has a capacity of 3000 units, has dropped to 100 units. HEPCO’s predicament has been transferred to its employees, who have been protesting deteriorating working conditions and unpaid wages for several months.
Fifteen workers of the HEPCO construction company have now received a five-year suspended sentence, but must serve 1-2 years in prison and receive 74 lashes on charges “disrupting public order”. The sentence was handed down by Iran’s judiciary in Arak. This move was likely meant to intimidate the hundreds of protesting workers at HEPCO.