Iranian retirees rallied in several cities on Sunday, for the fourth week in a row and despite the increased presence of security forces, to protest the regime’s lack of appropriate response to their demands for their pensions to be increase because of inflation and the drop in value of the rial.
The protests took place in Tehran, Karaj, Shushtar, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Arak, Ahvaz, Yazd, Khorram Abad, Shahrud, and Zanjan.
The Tehran rally began outside the Social Security Organization offices and from there they marched to the offices of the Budget and Planning Organization. They chanted:
- “We will only get back our rights on the streets”
- “Yesterday’s toilers are today’s protesters”
- “Our main demand, salaries adjusted for inflation”
- “Our salaries are paid in rials, our expenses are in dollars”
- “We have nothing, you are living in luxury”
- “No nation has seen such injustice”
The economic decline, caused by government’s corruption and mismanagement, threw many pensioners into poverty because the rial has lost 80% of its value and pensions are not tied to current food prices or inflation. The officials have even admitted that, according to their statistics, over 75% of pensioners cannot afford even their most basic of needs.
The retiree protesters have demanded that article 96 of the welfare law be implemented. This states that pensions must be adjusted so that pensioners can afford to live. They are further demanding free healthcare and that pensioners’ demands be prioritised in the sessions of the Iranian parliament.
The pensioners have been holding protests for years, but the government has not responded to their demands at all.
Sunday’s protest was the sixth nationwide demonstration in just under two months, but retirees are far from the only community that have been taking to the street. Impoverished and marginalised people from every walk of life have been protesting for their rights, which is not to mention the last week’s protests in Sistan and Baluchistan.
The Iranian opposition in this regard wrote: “While the regime has a history of cracking down on organized protests with severe brutality, there was no shortage of participants in Sunday’s rallies. This shows that the people are becoming increasingly bold in face of the regime’s repressive apparatus, and at the same time, the regime is becoming less and less efficient in its capacity to quell protests. This is a true manifestation of a new balance between the regime and the people.