Iran: pensioners, retirees hold weekly protest rally

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, July 4, 2021—On Sunday, retirees and pensioners held protest rallies in several cities across Iran, including Shush, Ahvaz, Isfahan, and Khorram Abad. The rallies were held in front of the offices of the Social Security Organization in different cities. After a short hiatus during the sham presidential election, the pensioners are back in the streets to claim their demands.

In the past months, retirees have been regularly organizing protests in various cities. But regime officials refrain from addressing the pensioners’ demands. The protesters complain that their meager pensions are not nearly enough to cover their most basic expenses and are often delayed for several months. Sunday protests by pensioners have become a regular scene across Iran as the living conditions of this deprived segment of the society continue to become worse.

On Sunday, the pensioners were calling for Mostafa Salari, the head of the Social Security Organization, to resign. The pensioners were also chanting, “We will only get our rights in the streets,” reflecting their frustration at officials’ dithering in addressing their problems. The protesters are also furious at regime officials constantly making promises but failing to uphold them. “We’ve heard too many words, too little justice,” the protesters chanted, and they stressed that the law needs to change.

The decline in Iran’s economy, spurred by government corruption and destructive policies, has plunged the lives of many pensioners and retired government workers into utter poverty. The rial, Iran’s national currency, has seen a huge dip in the past few years, losing more than 80 percent of its value. This has caused a spike in the prices of basic goods. Meanwhile, pensions and salaries have not been adjusted to this fundamental shift in the economical dynamics of the society. Under the current rates, most pensioners live under the poverty line.

This is against the government’s own policies to adjust pensions based on changes in inflation rates. According to a 2020 census, there are 18 million pensioners in Iran. These are part of Iran’s impoverished masses, who account for 96 percent of the population and live under the poverty line. According to the regime’s own statistics, more than 75 percent of pensioners are struggling to procure their needs.

Pensioners receive on average 25 million rials per month while the poverty line in some parts of Iran has reached 100 million rials in the past year.

At the same time, farmers in Isfahan, held a rally in protest to the mismanagement of water resources and problems in irrigating their farmlands. According to videos posted on social media, security forces attacked the farmers and clashes ensued.

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