February 16, 2021
Pensioners and retired government employees staged protests on February 14 in more than a dozen cities across Iran to complain over their financial situation and their state pension, which they said is insufficient to cover the rising cost of living, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reported.
Retirees of the State Welfare Organization protested in the capital Tehran, Karaj, Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, and several other cities while calling for an increase of their pensions, which they said leave them below the poverty line.
Hassan Sadeghi, president of the Union of Veterans of Workers’ Society, was quoted by Iranian media as saying that a large protest of 10,000 pensioners will be held on February 20 in front of the Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran as well as in other cities where he said protesters are expected to gather outside parliamentary offices.
Similar protests were also held in December 2020 and January where pensioners called for a 50 percent increase in their pensions. Workers, including nurses, have also held protests in past months over their low or unpaid wages.
“It seems that the authorities are finding it very hard to see the suffering of retired people and how their lives have fallen below the poverty line,” a pensioner told the New York-based Center For Human Rights In Iran in late January. “We have no choice but to participate in protests and shout out our problems even during the pandemic,” said the pensioner, who had attended a protest in December 2020.
Iran’s economy has been crushed by tough U.S. economic sanctions imposed by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has left at least 2 million Iranians jobless.
Iran’s current official inflation rate is now about 45 percent.