Iran: Retirees and shop owners continue strikes, protests over economic woes
Retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Organization took to the streets again on Saturday, June 18, for the 12th consecutive day of rallies and gatherings against the regime’s corruption, destructive polices, and refusal to address their outstanding demands over a long list of economic woes, including low wages and pensions, insurance issues, and poor living conditions.
Protests were reported in Tehran, Ahvaz, Shushtar, Abadan, Bandar Abbas, Zanjan, 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 and have continued for nearly two weeks.
In Tehran, the pensioners were chanting, “No nation has seen so much injustice!”
Based on a statement issued by the regime’s own Labor Council, 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.
“Neither the Majlis (parliament) nor the government care about the people!” pensioners and retirees were chanting in Ahvaz of Khuzestan province, southwest Iran.
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 ever before, and people from all walks of life are protesting across Iran.
At the same time, the parliament is refraining from passing the necessary legislation to address the needs of the retirees.
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. Strikes were reported in Isfahan, Yazd, Kuhchenar near Kazerun, Nurabad of Fars province in south-central Iran, 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.
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.