On Friday, January 21, retired university lecturer, Dr. Javad Safari, consumed with financial difficulties after not receiving his pension for months, committed suicide, highlighting just how much the Iranian regime’s corrupt actions are devastating the lives of Iranian people.
Just two months prior, news came to light that the regime’s Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Hojat Abdolmaleki had ‘donated’ 60 billion rials to a TV game show. What is the most appalling in this scenario is that Abdolmaleki’s ministry is in charge of Iran’s Social Security Organization, the National Pension Organization, and the Social Security Investment Company (Shasta).
The director of the state-run Channel 3 TV had sent a letter to Abdolmaleki, requesting a 480 billion rial investment to the channel’s ‘Square’ game show contest, which Abdolmaleki approved the funding for less than 24 hours later.
In an interview with the state-run Entekhab website on January 18, Javad Hosseini Kia, a member of the regime’s parliament, claimed that the investment amount was ‘nothing’, and that between 100 and 150 billion rials are added to pension funds by the government on a monthly basis.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Hosseini Kia’s brazen claims stand in stark contrast to Iranian pensioners’ current deplorable financial situation and their daily protests as a result of their poor living conditions and unpaid wages.”
This week alone, at the open market, Iran’s national currency has nosedived from 43,000 rials to every US dollar, to 280,100, due to the regime’s decades of corruption, along with their hostilities towards international powers.
At the bare minimum, Iranian retirees earn around 50,000 million rials in their pensions. Therefore, the amount that Abdolmaleki has ‘donated’ could have been used to cover the pension payments of almost one thousand Iranian pensioners.
The NCRI said, “This is a result of appointing an inept individual like Abdolmaleki to a ministry that decides the financial fate of over 55 million Iranians, including workers and government employees. Iran’s Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare has 11 general managers in each province, and some of its subsidiaries, such as the Welfare Organization, the Social Security Organization, the National Pension Fund, or the Social Security Pension Fund, operate much like separate ministries.”
What Raisi’s government has yet to speak out on, is its debt of 30,000 trillion rials to the Social Security Organization in their 2022/2023 budget plan. In a bid to absolve themselves of any responsibility of addressing it properly, they would rather dig deeper into the pockets of the Iranian workers as they increase the retirement age in the country, and base pension payments from the average salaries of workers over their last three years of employment.
Under the previous government administration of former president, Hassan Rouhani, eight billion shares of the Shasta were put on sale at the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) on April 13, 2020. While the workers and retirees owned the company, they had no say in its running as the Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare was responsible in appointing the company’s CEO and board of directors. Before they left the office, Rouhani’s administration owed the company around 250,000 trillion rials.
The NCRI said, “Ordinary Iranians cannot even earn a decent living. So, only those affiliated with the regime could purchase shares of Shasta. The so-called ‘private sector’, or the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), took the ownership of Shasta, not poor Iranian workers.”
Fed up with the regime’s corruption and mismanagement, as they watch Iran fall further into an economic crisis, people across Iran took to the streets in daily protests to vent their frustrations. Among the chants at their demonstrations was, “only on the street can we achieve our rights.”
The NCRI said, “The public anger over unemployment, economic anxiety, and corruption has emerged as a potentially existential threat to the regime because Iranians have realized that the only way to end all such crises is to topple the ruling kleptocracy.”