Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 6, 2021—Saturday morning marked another steep decline in Tehran’s stock market, with the TEDPIX index dropping by another 22,000 points to stand at 1.15 million, almost half of its 2-million-point peak in August. The downturn has wiped out the investments of thousands of middle-class Iranians, who invested in the stock market with the blessings and encouragement of regime president Hassan Rouhani and supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Meanwhile, large investors with links to the regime have made huge profits by manipulating the stock market with the help of top regime officials.
The stock market downturn has caused public outrage across Iran, with many taking to the streets and protesting the government’s manipulation of the market. On Thursday, small investors continued their protest rally in front of the General Inspector’s office despite the presence of security forces and plainclothes agents. The demonstrators protested government corruption and the intervention of regime-linked gangs that has caused the stock market crash and destroyed their investments and hopes.
“Death to Rouhani,” “Death to this deceptive government,” the protesters were chanting. The protesters have been rallying for consecutive days, calling for the government to return their investments.
Protest rally by customers of Azarbaijan Sanat Khodro company
The stock market is not the only sector that has been riddled with government corruption and dissatisfied customers. On Wednesday, customers of the government-linked carmaker Azarbaijan Sanat Khodro (Azvico) gathered in front of a court that was addressing corruption cases and held a protest rally.
Azvico has allegedly stole millions of dollars from 5,000 customers who had pre-purchased the company’s MG360 vehicle.
The company has presold around 6,400 vehicles but has refrained from delivering the cars one year after the set deadline. The company has also told the customers that it will not deliver their cars,
blaming the deficiency on the lack of vehicle parts and financial resources. The company has also said that the customers that they cannot revoke their purchases.
Meanwhile, according to official stats by the Central Bank, by February 2019, Azvico had access to more than $20 million at the official 42,000-rial exchange rate (the market price of the U.S. dollar is approx. 244,000 rials) and had manufactured more than 3,500 vehicles.
These customers have been constantly holding protest rallies, calling on the government to settle the issue and deliver their purchases or return their money. But the government and the judiciary have constantly taken the side of the company, refusing to reimburse the customers, who are already feeling the pressure of a downtrodden economy.
Protests by customers of Azvico car manufacturer
Meanwhile, in Kerman province, workers of the Baft Petrochemical Company held demonstrations for several consecutive days, protesting discriminating policies and the company’s refusal to implement the worker classification plan.
The workers, who number at more than 70, have been suffering from discrimination in the payment of wages and bonuses, the execution of classification rules, access to incentive packages, and lack of job security.
The workers say that the company’s management has forced them to sign agreements that violate their basic rights and forces them to remain silent in face of these violations.
Protest by workers of Baft Petrochemical Company
In Tehran, a group of workers of the Kaveh Glass Industrial Group, based in Saveh county, Markazi province, held a demonstration, protesting their unjustified and unexplained dismissal from work.
These workers who have more than 20 years of experience, were fired instead of being provided with retirement packages. Many of them also have several months’ worth of unpaid wages.
Protest rally by workers of the Kaveh Glass Industrial Group
In an interview with the state-run Online News website on Friday, Mohammad Reza Tajik, the representative of the Supreme Labor Council, acknowledged the poor livelihood conditions of workers and said, “The salary gap that has been caused in the past years is so immense that even if workers’ wages are increased by 100 percent, it won’t be filled. The distance between the workers’ wages and their expenses is very large. Even if the average 27-million-rial monthly salary of workers is doubled, it won’t be enough to cover the expenses of workers. These days, having a 40-50-meter apartment has become a dream for workers. With the wages they receive, they can only live in tents… The livelihood basket of workers costs around 100 million rials, how can they live with a monthly salary that is shy of 30 million rials?”