Iran’s retirees resume protest rallies, call for boycott of parliamentary elections


On February 19, retirees from the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) across various cities in Iran, including Ardebil, Arak, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Tehran, Tabriz, and Ahvaz, staged protest rallies to voice their grievances against the Iranian regime’s neglect of their demands for higher pensions and basic rights. These protests are part of a series of ongoing demonstrations that have been occurring weekly, underscoring the deepening crisis of living conditions for retirees who have been systematically denied their rights by the regime.

The protesters’ demands are centered around the implementation of a law passed in 2010, which mandates the government to adjust their pensions in alignment with the cost of living—a law that has been largely ignored, exacerbating the financial insecurity faced by the retirees. Their protests are a testament to their struggle against a backdrop of economic instability, where inflation and devaluation of the national currency have led to soaring prices, further diminishing the purchasing power of their pensions.

In Ardebil, northwest Iran, the retirees gathered to express their frustration and demand action from the government. Similarly, in Arak, central Iran, retirees resumed their protests in front of the provincial office of TCI, highlighting the regime’s continued inaction on their demands. The protests in Kermanshah and Sanandaj, western Iran, along with Tehran, the capital city, echoed the same sentiments of discontent and demand for the regime to acknowledge and address their grievances.

The retirees in Tabriz, northwest Iran, and Ahvaz, southwest Iran, also joined the nationwide protests, uniting their voices with those across the country in calling for higher pensions and the fulfillment of their basic needs. These protests reflect a broader issue of systemic neglect and mismanagement by the regime, impacting not only the retirees of the Telecommunications Company of Iran but also other sectors of society who find themselves in similar predicaments.

On Sunday, the retirees of the Social Security Organization held similar rallies in several cities, including Shush, Ahvaz, and Kermanshah. At the same time, retirees of the steel industry in Ahvaz held protest rallies as their pensions can’t cover their basic needs.

According to the regime’s own laws, the government is supposed to adjust pensions according to the costs of living. But as prices continue to soar, officials refrain from raising pensions. Meanwhile, the regime continues to squander the wealth of the country and the people on nefarious goals such as manufacturing weapons for its proxies and allies and spreading terrorism in the region.

And while protests for the most basic needs continue across the country and different segments of society, a new batch of leaked documents show that regime officials and parliament members are enriching themselves at the expense of the people. According to the documents, members of parliament receive an average 2 billion rials per month while most Iranians are struggling to earn half of the amount for the poverty line, which stands at around 250-300 million rials.

These demonstrations are a clear indication of the escalating frustration among retirees and other segments of the Iranian population, who are increasingly vocal about their rights and the need for the regime to implement its own laws. As the protests continue to gain momentum, they represent a critical challenge to the regime’s legitimacy and its ability to meet the basic needs of its citizens.

The regime is facing an increasingly complicated challenge as its parliamentary elections will be held in less than two weeks and it desperately needs to rally the people to vote and create an impression of legitimacy for its rule. However, given the recent revelations and the general frustration with the regime’s lack of action about the people’s needs, it is already a foregone conclusion that the elections will be faced with mass boycott by the Iranian people. As protesters chant these days, “We have seen no justice, we will no longer vote.”