Retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Organization rallied in several cities on Wednesday, June 8, for the third consecutive day, protesting low wages and pensions, insurance issues, and poor living conditions. Demonstrations were reported in Arak, Tehran, Kermanshah, Karaj, Yazd, and Ahvaz among others. The protests, which occur regularly, are happening as Iran has seen two waves of intense anti-regime protests in the past month, caused by declining economic conditions, growing inflation, and skyrocketing prices of basic goods.
While the retirees and Social Security Organization pensioners previously held their rallies on a weekly basis, this is the first time that they are gathering for several successive days. The rallies are taking place because the regime has refrained from addressing their demands. At the same time, Iran’s economy continues to plunge into inflation and the prices of basic goods are skyrocketing. Employed people are having a tough time putting food on the table, let alone pensioners, who rely on government stipends to make ends meet.
In Tehran, protesters were chanting “Our government is a disgrace” in protest to the regime’s lack of response to their demands.
In Kermanshah, the pensioners were chanting, “We will die but won’t give in to humiliation.” These protests are taking place while the regime has resorted to a wide range of measures to intimidate the protesters and prevent them from coming to the streets.
The protesters in Karaj were chanting, “We don’t want a sixth-grader government,” in reference to regime president Ebrahim Raisi, who is regularly mocked by Iranians for his lack of education.
After assuming office in August 2021, Raisi made bold promises to eradicate poverty and improve the economic situation of the country. Less than a year into his presidency, prices of basic goods are skyrocketing, inflation is at a record high, and the price of the rial is continuing its nosedive.
In Yazd, the protesters were chanting “Death to Raisi!”
Pensioners and retirees are among the worst-hit segments of society. The regime has refused to increase their pensions commensurate with growing inflation and the depreciation of the value of the national currency.
The government was supposed to increase pensions in the new Persian calendar year (starting in March). It was also supposed to settle unpaid pensions remaining from the previous year. So far, it has yet to deliver on both demands. The regime has approved a 10-percent increase in pensions, but its own Labor Council has declared that pensioners will need at least a 38-percent increase in their pensions to compensate for the growing costs of living and inflation.
Interestingly, the regime’s own media reported that The Social Security Investment Company (SHASTA), the financial institution that is supposed to fund retirees, has seen a significant increase in its profits in the past year. However, these profits have yet to materialize in the lives of pensioners and retirees.
In recent days, the protesters have called Hojatollah Abdolmaleki, Raisi’s Labor Minister, a “disgrace” and called for his resignation.
In recent weeks, the prices of flour, bread, milk, cooking oil, and other basic food items have increased several-fold. The regime has been making hollow promises to control inflation and prices but has failed to do so.
This has resulted in protests in several cities, which have quickly turned into anti-regime rallies calling for the overthrow of the mullahs’ rule.
While pensioners, workers, drivers, teachers, and other sectors of society are deprived of their most basic needs, the regime continues to fund its military and terror apparatus, funneling billions of dollars into the coffers of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its terrorist proxies in the region and spending massive amounts on developing and testing ballistic missiles.