Retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Organization returned to the streets on Wednesday, June 15, for the ninth consecutive day of protest rallies against the government’s destructive polices and lack of response to their outstanding demands regarding low wages and pensions, insurance issues, and poor living conditions.
Protests were reported in Tehran, Ahvaz, Dorud, Kermanshah, Shush, and other cities. Retirees and pensioners have been holding regular protests as their living conditions continue to deteriorate because of the nosediving economic conditions, escalating inflation, and skyrocketing prices of food staples, including bread, milk, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and cooking oil.
While the retirees and Social Security Organization pensioners previously held their demonstrations on a weekly basis, this is the first time that they are rallying for several successive days. The protests are taking place despite heavy security measures by the regime.
In Ahvaz, the pensioners were holding signs that read, “The council’s decision must be implemented.” This is a reference to a statement made by the regime’s own Labor Council, which states that retirees are entitled to a 38-percent increase in their pensions due to different economic factors, including the rising inflation rate, the devaluation of the rial, and the skyrocketing prices of basic goods. However, the regime has so far only approved a 10-percent increase in pensions, which does not cover the basic needs of pensioners.
The protesters also called the state-owned broadcasting company a “disgrace” for censoring news of their demonstrations. “We will fight and die, and we will get back our rights,” the protesters chanted.
In Tehran, the retirees held a very large rally despite heavy security measures by the regime. The demonstrators were shouting “Shame on you” to security forces that tried to disperse the rally.
In Dorud, protesters were chanting, “Enough with the tyranny. Our tables are empty.”
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, the economic situation is worse than every before, and people from all walks of life are protesting across Iran.
The retirement fund, which is supposed to pay the pensions or retirees, has been constantly looted by regime institutions and bodies. As the regime continues to spend its wealth on waging terrorism in the region and chasing dreams of nuclear weapons, it is faced with a growing budget deficit. It has covered its budget deficit by taking from the retirement fund, levying more taxes, and taking money out of the impoverished segments of society.
At the same time, shop owners in the bazaars of several cities continued strikes that began earlier this week. In recent days, strikes were reported in Arak, Kazerun, Minab, Isfahan, Tehran, Naghadeh, Khorramabad, Borujerd, Fasa, Ilam, and other cities. The shop owners are protesting the regime’s policy to increase taxes and the declining value of the rial, which hit a record low this week, trading at more than 330,000 to the U.S. dollar.
In Khorramabad and Naghadeh, long stretches of streets were marked with closed shops. In Fasa, protests began in the “Old Bazaar,” where the shop owners branched into two groups marching toward the Taleghani and Imam streets.
The protesters were chanting, “Proud merchants, support us!” as they closed their shops and joined the rally.
As the protesters approached the governorate intersection, shop owners of Kowsar and Golkhandan malls joined them. Reports indicate that shop owners fro all across Fasa are joining the protests.
In Ilam, shop owners held a large rally in front of the tax offices and voiced their protest to the regime’s tyrannical policies.
While pensioners, shop owners, 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.