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Retirees Come Out To Protest Meager Pensions In Iran

Retirees, mostly teachers came out on October 16 to protest in major Iranian cities.
Retirees, mostly teachers came out on October 16 to protest in major Iranian cities.

Thousands of Iranian retirees assembled outside the Planning and Budget Organization (PBO) on Tuesday, October 16 in Tehran to protest minimal pensions.

Based on the latest reports, similar protest rallies were simultaneously held in other large cities including Isfahan, central Iran.

Footage circulated on social media show protesters chanting, "The poverty line, sixty million rials, our salary twenty million rials".

There are currently three different forex rates in Iran. Based on the middle rate, these figures would be roughly $600 and $200 respectively.

Iran's currency rial has lost most of its value since the beginning of this year, which has made living conditions hard for ordinary people.

State-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) also cited the enraged pensioners as chanting, "The Constitution gives the right to hold rallies and protest marches", "Workers, Nurses unify, unify!", "Based on the law, the salary of the active and retired employees should be equal".

One of the protesters told ILNA, "We are fed-up with poverty and having no money. After three decades of teaching, our pension only covers ten days of our expenses. What are we supposed to do for the rest of the month?"

Most of the participants in the rally were retired teachers who complained that their pension is not only less than the active teachers' salaries, but much less than what pensioners in other fields are paid, ILNA reported..

Earlier, ISNA had cited the managing director of the National Retirement Fund, Jamshid Taqizadeh, as saying, "Iranian pensioners have lost 67% of their purchasing power and live with hardship in a very poor condition.

ILNA's report is silent about the organizer of the rally, but the Retirees Unification Group (RUG) had earlier called for a gathering on social media.

In its statement, RUG demanded the implementation of the National Services Management Law ratified in 2007, finding a way out of poverty through allocating 60 million rials monthly salary to a family of four, increasing pensioners annual income vis-a-vis to the real inflation rate, free medical treatment and providing a sufficient insurance.

Strikes and protest rallies have once again gained momentum in recent days across Iran. In the latest protest assembly, teachers held sit-ins on Saturday and Sunday, refusing to attend their classes.

The Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Heather Nauert, joined an international chorus in support of the strikers.

"We are following the reports of nationwide strikes in #Iran. We support the right of the Iranian people to peacefully express their rightful demands. These strikes have a message for the regime: stop wasting Iran’s wealth abroad and start addressing the needs of your own people", Heather Nauert tweeted on Monday, October 15.