The recent events at Hepco, a company in central Iran where police violently suppressed a series of peaceful workers’ protest, are a culmination of the troubled and opaque processes through which Iran privatizes its most profitable companies. Hepco employees began staging protests in 2017, demanding six months of backpay. This time around, on September 16, the workers say they have not been paid for two months, and only received 70% of their pay this spring.
A look back at official documents and news items published over the last decade shows how Hepco was mismanaged by a procession of state-backed private owners, each appearing to strip away at the assets of the once-profitable company.
The Hepco factory complex is a lynchpin in the economy of the city of Arak. In 1992, at the height of its post-revolutionary activity, it was capable of turning out over 3,000 pieces of heavy construction machinery. Hepco became a limited liability company in the early 2000s, during the presidency of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose liberal economic policies started privatizing state-owned businesses in Iran.
The registration document for Hepco Heavy Machinery Production can be found at ILENC.ir: