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Iranian Retirees’ Sixth Protest in a Week

Iranian retirees continue their protests for the sixth day in 19 provinces, condemning the regime's deceitful policies to ignore their rights.

On Sunday, June 12, 2022, retirees and pension recipients affiliated with the Social Security Organization took to the streets in at least 20 cities across Iran for the sixth time in a week. “In another nationwide protest, retirees continue their rallies and marches, demanding their fundamental rights,” the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) reported.

“They hold demonstrations in Ahvaz, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Borujerd, Bandarabbas, Sari, Isfahan, Zanjan, Arak, Hamedan, Karaj, Rasht, Naqadeh, Shushtar, Solduz, Tabriz, Shush, Shahrud, Kerman, Sanandaj, and Shiraz,” the report read.

On June 5, the Iranian Parliament [Majlis] passed a bill increasing retirees’ pension by 10 percent. Instead of easing retirees’ demands, the bill severely fueled their outrage over the regime’s failure to address their financial difficulties. “Ten-percent increase in salaries while the inflation rate is 100 percent,” protesters chanted.

At the time, citizens faced a sharp increase in prices of food staples, which led to two significant waves of anti-regime protests in the past two months. On the other hand, government-backed economists say the inflation rate is more than 40 percent.

The Labor Council has declared that pensioners will need at least a 38-percent increase in their pensions to compensate for the growing costs of living and inflation. In such circumstances, retirees consider the Majlis’s bill as an insult to their grievances, prompting them to turn their weekly protests into the daily ones in the past week.

All the while, the mullahs continue their costly policies in various aspects at the expense of the worst-hit classes of society, including pensioners and workers. As the regime funds extremist groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, Iranian families fail to cover their essential needs. “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, the oppressed people are right here,” protesters chanted in Karaj, Alborz province.

In their slogans, retirees and pension recipients vent their anger at President Ebrahim Raisi. Less than a year ago, Raisi took office and gave bold promises about uprooting poverty and improving low-income classes’ livelihood.

Instead, the country’s economic situation dramatically deteriorated, and the national currency rial lost its value against the U.S. dollar more than ever while each dollar traded at 333,000 rials today. The rial devaluation harshly affected merchants and prompted them to shut down their shops and march toward the Majlis. In solidarity with Tehran’s Bazaar, merchants shut down their shops in Arak’s Bazaar and marched.

“Death to Raisi,” “Death to the incompetent government,” “Death to the deceitful government,” and “We fight, we die, but never give in to disgrace,” protesters chanted, expressing their fury against the regime’s failures and mismanagement.

Authorities Respond to Peaceful Protests with Suppression

In response to people’s peaceful and rightful protests, authorities savagely cracked down on protesters, merchants, and other deprived people. In Shiraz, Fars province, anti-riot forces attacked pension recipients outside the office of Supreme Leader’s representative Lotfollah Dezhkam and arrested several protesters. Shiraz Police chief Rahambakhsh Habibi was reportedly involved in suppression.

In Isfahan, anti-riot forces fired teargas against retirees, leading to respiratory disorders for several people. However, retirees resisted and continued the protests for their most fundamental rights.

The regime’s suppression once again proved that the mullahs have no resolution for the society’s needs and dilemmas. In this context, every socio-economic grievance rapidly turns into anti-regime demonstrations, targeting high-ranking officials like Khamenei and Raisi.

In such circumstances, the Majlis plans to legitimize the use of lethal force against defenseless protesters. This is another sign of the mullahs’ feeble versus people’s social grievances and the protests’ potential to turn into anti-regime movements.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), saluted protesting retirees, merchants, and other citizens on June 12. “The honorable retirees and pensioners of Iran once again took to the streets with chants of ‘Death to Raisi’ and ‘We will fight and die but will not accept humiliation,’” she tweeted.

“Crackdowns and arrests did not stop them. I urge Iran’s youths to support the retirees. There is no other way but to rise up and protest against this corrupt and predatory regime.”

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