Despite the regime’s deceptive measures and promises, welfare recipients and pensioners in Iran held protest rallies in Tehran and 21 other cities across the country on Sunday, February 14, to demand fair pay in the face of intolerably high prices and inflation.
Women made up a considerable number of the participants in these protests.
They gathered outside the Social Security Organization buildings in Tehran, Tabriz, Neyshabur, Arak, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Yazd, Khorramabad, Isfahan, Ardabil, Shush, Ilam, Qazvin, Shiraz, Karaj, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Kerman, Bojnourd, Dezful, Zanjan, and Hamadan.
In Tehran, the welfare recipients and pensioners gathered outside the mullahs’ parliament where a group of teachers had also gathered to protest low wages and other problems in the education system. A group of pensioners from Kermanshah also traveled to Tehran and joined the Sunday protest outside the parliament.
“We will not back down until we get our rights!” the protesters chanted angrily.
“Only by taking it to the streets, we will be able to obtain our rights!”
“Enough with hollow promises, our baskets are empty!”
“The retirement fund has been hijacked by a bunch of thieves!”
One of the placards held by pensioners in Iran read: “The poverty line is 12 million (Tomans), while our wages are only 3 million (Tomans).” Most pensioners are living under the poverty line and cannot meet their weekly living expenses.
The protesters’ main demand is for the government to increase their pensions proportionate with the rising inflation rate. Another one of their chants was, “high prices and inflation are ruining people’s lives.”
This is the fourth nationwide gathering of retirees and pensioners in Iran in recent months.
Previous protests were held on December 20, January 26, and on February 3.
The decline in Iran’s economy, spurred by government corruption and destructive policies, has plunged the lives of many retired government workers and pensioners in Iran into utter poverty. While the price of the national currency, the Rial, has lost more than 80 percent of its value in the past few years, pensions have not changed much, and the government has not adjusted salaries based on the change of currency prices and inflation rates.
The poverty line for a family of four has increased to 12 million Tomans (around $400). The absolute poverty line is 6.8 million Tomans (around $262), which puts at least 60% of Iran’s population, including most pensioners, under the line of “absolute poverty.”
According to the Iranian regime’s official statistics, more than 75 percent of pensioners are struggling to procure their needs.
In the past years, the pensioners have been regularly protesting low wages and the government’s refusal to adjust their pensions based on the devaluation of the Rial and the rising inflation rate.
The protesting welfare recipients and pensioners in Iran are demanding the implementation of article 96 of the welfare law, which states that pensions must be adjusted to allow pensioners to procure their needs. The protesters are also demanding free health care for pensioners and the prioritization of the pensioners’ demands by the parliament.