Uniting for Freedom, Democracy & Equality

Retirees and Pensioners Protests, 8th Week Running in Iran

For the eighth week in a row, retirees of Iran’s Social Security Organization held protests across the country on Sunday, March 14, to demand that their pensions rise in line with inflation as the cost of food and other essentials continues to rise dramatically.

The protesters said that their ridiculously low pensions are also delayed by several months and the protest again turned into a demonstration against the corruption and mismanagement of the economy by the regime, which has increased poverty and deprivation.

Across Ahvaz, Arak, Karaj, Kermanshah, Khorramabad, Isfahan, Rasht, Tabriz, and Tehran, the pensioners chanted:

  • “High prices & inflation are killing people!”
  • “Our country sits on treasures; retirees live in hardships!”
  • “Our main demand is pensions based on the inflation rate!”

The protest movement is spreading, with more cities seeing protests and more people turning up, week on week. The fact is that the regime have caused this economic decline and plunged 75% of the country’s 18 million retirees into poverty, so no wonder they want to protest.

The Iranian rial has declined in value by 80% in the past few years, meaning that goods are more expensive, but pensions have not changed much and the regime hasn’t adjusted salaries based on currency prices and inflation. This is in violation of  government policy to adjust pensions due to inflation rate changes.

Retirees receive an average of 25 million rials per month, but in some parts of Iran the poverty line is 100 million rials. Thus, the pensioners want the mullahs to implement article 96 of the welfare law that would increase pensions based on inflation so that retirees can still afford to live. They also want free health care and for their issues to be prioritized in parliament.

Over the first six weeks, the regime refrained from arresting or attacking the protesters en-masse, fearing the reaction of the people at large, and instead choosing to either bury any media coverage of the rallies of threaten/intimidate people out of going.

This did not stop the protests and last week the regime sent security forces to arrest and beat the pensioners. Still, this did not stop them. The pensioners fought back last week and turned out in force again this week.

Of course, it’s not just pensioners in poverty. The Arman daily reported on March 6 that parents are selling children and low-paid workers can no longer afford meat or fruit. Some 96% of Iranians are in poverty.