Iranian pensioners gathered today in 16 cities in an organized effort to express their economic woes and demand higher pensions.
Social Security Organization pensioners and retirees gathered outside the Social Security Organization buildings in the capital Tehran and 15 other cities including in Alborz near the capital, the central province of Isfahan, the western provinces of Kurdistan and Lorestan, the northwestern provinces of Qazvin, Eastern Azerbaijan and Hamedan, the northeastern province of Razavi Khorasan, and the southwestern provinces of Khuzestan and Fars.
The Iranian pensioners demanded balanced wages, payment of government debt to the Social Security Organization and an increase in pensions to cover their living costs. The protesters held signs criticizing the government for receiving pensions that were below the poverty line.
The pensioners issued a statement, saying they had no other choice but to gather, despite the COVID-19 pandemic risks. They insisted that they would use their rights to assemble if their demands were not met.
Footage of their gatherings in Khorramabad, Tabriz, Karaj, Shush, Ahvaz, Mashhad, Sannandaj, Qazvin, Tehran and Shiraz were widely shared on social media channels.
The pensioners held placards with slogans such as “we can only earn our rights on the streets”. In Mashhad, northeastern Iran, they laid out tablecloths on the ground in a symbolic measure to imply that they could not afford food and their basic needs.
Their other demands included free and adequate health care services, and the right to organize and have free independent unions.
Before this, pensioners held gatherings in December 2020 in over 8 provinces.
Some of their placards held direct messages to the regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, asking him to improve their living conditions.
Due to a record low of the country’s currency and economic problems, as well as corruption and mismanagement in Iran, the poverty line for a family of four has increased to 10 million tomans (around $388). The absolute poverty line is 6.8 million tomans (around $264), which puts 50% of the Iranian population, including pensioners, under the line of “absolute poverty”.