On Sunday, groups of Iranian retirees and pensioners took to the streets in several cities across Iran to hold protest rallies, demanding that their pensions should be adjusted to keep in line with the rising inflation and skyrocketing prices of basic goods in the country.
In the city of Rash in the Gilan province, a group of workers held a demonstration outside of the Welfare Organization’s offices to demand that their pensions be adjusted according to the poverty line, as well as demands for better government healthcare benefits and the payment of government debts to the retirement fund.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said, “According to one of the protesters, given the current inflation rates and the possibility that it increases in the future, the retirees will not be able to pay for their monthly food and product baskets with current pensions and are facing severe problems. The Welfare Organization must also uphold its pledge to provide the pensioners with free healthcare services.”
Retired steelworkers and pensioners in Isfahan protested in regards to their poor living conditions and demanded that their pensions should be adequate enough to match the rising inflation. Reports also indicated that similar protests took place in Tehran and Khuzestan.
Throughout 2021, retirees across the country regularly took part in organized protests in multiple cities. The main complaint during these demonstrations was that the meager pensions that they are receiving barely cover basic expenses, and often these payments are delayed for several months, leaving them struggling endlessly.
So far, the Iranian regime has refrained from adjusting pensions to keep in line with Iran’s rising inflation and the drop in value of the national currency, as well as the skyrocketing prices of everyday goods. As a result, many Iranian pensioners are forced to live below the poverty line.
The MEK said, “The decline in Iran’s economy, spurred by government corruption and destructive policies, has plunged the lives of many pensioners and retired government workers into utter poverty. The rial, Iran’s national currency, has seen a huge dip in the past few years, losing more than 80 percent of its value.”
The regime, in a bid to quell the unrest during these protests, has resorted to cracking down violently and even arresting some of the pensioners, with many being flogged or given prison sentences. The regime continues to ignore the retirees’ demands and refuses to take any action in order to end the protests in a civil manner.
In recent weeks, Iranian teachers have also held protests to demand basic rights and better living conditions. The regime’s Center of Statistics has previously indicated that the inflation rate in Iran now sits at 44.4 percent, while the average price of basic goods is said to have increased by at least 83 percent in the last year alone.
The MEK said, “At the same time, the workers of Rejal Petrochemical company of Khuzestan held protest rallies. These workers are demanding their salaries to be adjusted based on their difficult working conditions. They have also been denied their after-hour work bonuses for more than three years.”
Workers of the Rangin Nakh textile factory in Semnan have also held their own protest rallies, more than a dozen in the last month, to raise demands for overdue payments that have been unanswered by the regime since 2013.
Meanwhile, in Ahar, workers of the Mazraeh copper mine have held protests for the past several months to demand improvements to their contracts and working conditions, as well as better wages.