“In the current circumstances… the enemy is counting on protests and the social conditions!”
These remarks were made by Esmaeil Khatib, the Minister of Intelligence and Security of the regime ruling Iran, on June 5. This warning is quite something in and of itself. It is a stark warning to all factions and entities inside the mullahs’ regime in Iran, and a clear signal to the Iranian people and those seeking to overthrow this regime that major and unprecedented opportunities are in the making.
In Iran the regime’s Intelligence Minister is one of the informed figures about conditions on the ground inside the Iranian society and among the regime’s ranks and files. As a result, when he talks about “our social conditions,” he is pinpointing specific threats targeting the regime.
On June 12, these threats surfaced once again as people across the country were seen taking to the streets to voice their anger. Storeowners in Tehran’s market at the Aminhozour intersection began protesting the nosediving rial, the country’s currency, and skyrocketing prices of goods. This rally evolved into clashes between protesters and the regime’s oppressive security forces. The protesters began chanting “Shame on you!” and confronting the security forces that clearly were caught off-guard, surprised, and disorganized.
The protests of shop owners, which continued on Monday, June 13, happens against the backdrop of other demonstrations ongoing across the country.
People in the Iranian capital’s Tehran Pars district, the city of Arak, and 23 other cities and towns across the country were also protesting and the rallies quickly evolved into political demonstrations. “Death to [Ebrahim] Raisi!” and “Death to [Mohammad Bagher] Ghalibaf!” were among the chants as people voiced their anger against the regimes’ president and Majlis (parliament) speaker, respectively. The regime’s oppressive forces resorted to using tear gas and clashing with the protesters.
These protests, which have lasted for over a week, are held by pensioners and retirees, whose lives have spiraled into poverty and misery under the regime’s abysmal handling of the country’s economy.
Realizing the tense situation and conditions getting out of control, Raisi ordered his vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, to see into the issue of the country’s pensioners and their protests.
The regime’s state-run newspapers are acknowledging the pensioners’ growing dilemmas.
“These days the poor living conditions and financial issues of pensioners across the country has become more critical than ever before” and “with each passing day their financial issues are escalating,” reads a piece in the Jahane San’at daily on June 12.
The reason is nothing but unprecedented corruption and theft by regime officials and their insiders. Despite the fact that Iran’s Social Security Organization Fund has nothing to do with the government, the mullahs’ regime has imposed taxes on this entity and milking it dry.
On the other hand, despite the fact that Iran’s inflation stands somewhere between 40 and 60 percent, the pensioners’ wages have only been increased by ten percent. This places their wages four to five times under the country’s poverty line. The immense social anger has been the result of escalating plundering by the regime at the expense of millions of people across the country. The regime’s own experts are saying people are reaching the climax of their tolerance.
This general outrage is the driving force behind all ordinary protests quickly expanding to political demands and strong criticism targeting senior regime officials. From March 21 of this year (Iran’s New Year) to this day protests in Iran are becoming more frequent, expanding across the country, and all the more political. As things stand there is no de-escalation in sight for these rallies.