Retirees, pensioners, and welfare recipients affiliated with the Social Security Organization once again rallied and marched in 23 cities in 19 provinces across Iran on April 4. They protested officials’ failure to improve their living conditions, low salaries, and skyrocketing prices.
“In addition To Tehran, the retirees and pensioners staged protests in Arak, Ardabil, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Ilam, Khorramabad, Rasht, Sari, Sanandaj, Shiraz, Karaj, Kerman, Kermanshah, Gorgan, Qazvin, Mashhad, Yazd, Neyshabur, Shush, Shooshtar, and Abhar, outside the local social security offices,” stated the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Apr. 4 – Tehran, #Iran
Social Security pensioners chant, "We've heard too many lies and won't vote!"
Many Iranians say they won't vote in the June 18 presidential elections because they want #IranRegimeChange. #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/IGsu3USS8q
— Iran News Wire (@IranNW) April 4, 2021
In their countrywide protests, retirees vented their anger over officials’ deceitful policies and indifference toward their dilemmas. Enraged protesters also expressed their disappointment over both government factions, announcing that they would boycott the Presidential election scheduled for June.
“We have heard too many lies, we will no longer vote,” “Threats and crackdown are no longer effective,” “We have not seen any justice, we will no longer vote,” “Parliament, Government, stop deceiving the people,” “To overcome empty plates, we must take to the streets,” and “Until we obtain our rights, we will be here every day,” retirees chanted.
In recent months, retirees and pensioners have time and again staged rallies and marches in various provinces. These protests have gradually grown into a countrywide movement, which has swept more and more cities. Furthermore, despite officials’ promises and other tricks, such rallies increase with each passing week.
Given the government’s mismanagement and corruption, Iran’s economy has been placed on the verge of collapse. In such circumstances, vulnerable classes of society like retirees and pensioners face enormous dilemmas. They face a deteriorating rate in their purchasing power, and their food baskets are constantly shrinking.
On the other hand, the government does not care about these impoverished people’s hardship and has left them in utter poverty and misery, according to Iran experts. According to state-run media, the majority of Iran’s population live below the poverty line. However, in reality, many people suffer from poor nutrition.
“Pensioners receive on average 25 million rials per month while the poverty line in some parts of Iran has reached 100 million rials in the past year. Along with pensioners, workers are also suffering from the regime’s destructive policies and its refusal to increase the minimum wage based on inflation and price rises,” noted the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In this status quo and while the country has plunged into the fourth wave of the coronavirus outbreak, retirees’ dilemmas have been doubled. Nonetheless, these people prefer to come to the streets and struggle for their inherent rights rather than remaining silent over the government’s plundering policies. This issue shows public distrust in the entire ruling system as citizens have been disappointed to follow their fundamental grievances through governmental apparatuses.
“Today, Iran’s honorable pensioners and retires once again held their protests and uprising across the country with chants which boycotted the mullahs’ election charade. They thus echoed the voice of all the people of Iran who seek to gain back their rights usurped by the mullahs’ corrupt regime,” said NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
“The clerical regime has plundered the Iranian people’s national wealth and assets. They squander the product of Iran’s toiling workers on warmongering and belligerence, nuclear and missile programs, domestic repression and terrorism abroad, just to preserve the regime’s rule,” she added, highlighting, “The protesters are right when they cry out: We will no longer vote, because we did not see any justice, but heard many lies.”