Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 28, 2021—On Sunday, Iranian pensioners held protest rallies in several cities to reiterate their demands from the regime. This is the fourth consecutive week that pensioners hold organized rallies despite the heavy atmosphere of repression and presence of security forces. 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.
On February 28, retirees held their protests in Tehran, Yazd, Kermanshah, Arak, Ahvaz, Khorram Abad, Shahrud, Karaj, Shushtar, Mashhad, and Zanjan.
In Tehran, the rally started in front of the offices of the Social Security Organization. The demonstrators then moved on toward the offices of the Budget and Planning Organization while chanting slogans, “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 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. 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. Under the current rates, most pensioners live under the poverty line.
According to the regime’s own statistics, more than 75 percent of pensioners are struggling to procure their needs.
The protesters 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 in Majlis sessions.
Pensioners have been continuously holding protest rallies, but the government has yet to respond to their demands.
Protesters by pensioners in Arak
This is the sixth nationwide organized protest of the pensioners in less than two months. At the same time, members of other impoverished communities across Iran have been holding similar rallies in different cities. And the protests happen against the backdrop of ongoing protests in Sistan and Baluchestan and heavy security measures in different parts of Iran.
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.
Protest by pensioners in Ilam