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Iranian Pensioners Continue Protests Amid Economic Woes

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda June 07, 2022

Pensioners and retired government employees have continued protests in more than a dozen Iranian cities for a second day as they seek a hike in pensions to offset rising prices amid the country's growing economic woes.

Reports from eyewitnesses from 16 cities, including Mashhad, Shushtar, Ilam, Yazd, Qazvin, Karaj, Bandar Abbas, Kermanshah, Abadan, and Isfahan, showed protesters on June 7 demanding more money, saying their pensions aren't enough to live on.

In the city of Ilam, retirees spread an empty tablecloth in front of the Social Security Administration building, symbolically pointing to the emptiness of their tables while chanting at the labor minister, "Minister of incompetence, shame on you!"

Reports from Isfahan highlighted police acting to prevent the gathering of retirees and protesters, who chanted "Death to Raisi," a reference to President Ebrahim Raisi.

Devastated by years of harsh economic sanctions imposed by Washington since the United States pulled out of an accord with global superpowers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program, many Iranians have launched protests in recent months to decry the government's inability to help their lives.

In addition, Iran's economy has struggled to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left at least 2 million Iranians jobless and the inflation rate at above 45 percent.

Other issues such as air pollution, a lack of drinking water in some areas, and the deadly collapse of a building in the southwestern city of Abadan that many have blamed on corruption have fueled strife in the country.

Highlighting the dire situation, the Labor Ministry announced on June 5 that it was increasing monthly pensions by 55 percent to 55.8 million Iranian rials ($177) per month. But retirees say the increase falls well short of allowing them to make ends meet.

Writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-protests-economy- pensioners/31887560.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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