In Iran, retirees join truckers, shopkeepers, teachers on strike against the mullahs

As Iran spends billions on proxy wars throughout the Mideast, thousands of Iranian retirees took to the streets of Tehran and other cities across Iran on Oct. 16, 2018, joining the truckers, shopkeepers and teachers who have initiated a major strike against the mullah regime. What brought so many retirees to the streets was public anxiety about the miserable conditions of life under the mullahs. There's an economic crisis, spiraling inflation, and a high cost of living that has particularly hit the lives of the elderly hard. Iran's mullahs may live the good life, enjoying the proceeds from rich oil fields and exports of 4 million barrel a day, but the elderly and the working people do not.

What's outrageous is that there's no money in the country to help them. Instead, Iran's rulers in recent years have financed billions to support their extremist allies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, as well as keep Syria's odious dictator, Bashar al-Assad in power. Back home, people are suffering from unemployment and high prices.

In Tehran, retirees protest in large numbers.

The amount of Iran’s funding for its proxies in the region is impossible to figure out, because much of the funding comes in the form of arms and equipment from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as the transport of fighters and supplies in aircraft operated by Iranian state-owned airlines like Mahan Air. Iran extends instrumental support to its allies also through the services of its officers as military advisers and by setting up Shi’ite militias that it trains and deploys across the region. Meanwhile, the people of Iran suffer.

In Tehran, the retirees marched toward the Plan and Budget Organization (PBO) building to protest minimal pensions, reportedly. Footage circulated on social media shows protesters chanting, "The poverty line, sixty million rials, our salary twenty million rials."

Based on the latest reports, similar protest rallies were simultaneously held in other large cities including Isfahan, a large and beautiful city in central Iran. One of the many slogans being heard at those protests was: “No Gaza, No Lebanon, No Syria, my life for Iran!” – referring to the billions which the regime has spent on its allies across the region, instead of investing in the stagnant economy at home.

Iran's currency, the rial has lost about two-thirds of its value in the market this year, after President Donald Trump’s decision to exit (JCPOA) in May as well as re-impose economic sanctions on Iran. The value of the money is expected to continue decline after U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry on Nov. 4

One of the retirees said: "…our present situation has disastrous consequences for the youths, they foresee no future for themselves, our condition leaves young people realizing that the life is getting worse for them, therefore they choose to challenge the regime by joining the resisting units and up rise".

One of the protesters told state-run News Agency, 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 pensions were not only less than the active teachers' salaries but much less than what pensioners in other fields were paid, ILNA reported.

Earlier,  another state-run news agency, 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 very poor conditions."

Strikes and protest rallies have once again gained momentum in recent days across Iran. In the latest protest assembly, teachers held sit-ins on Oct. 14-15, refusing to attend their classes.

Meanwhile, 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," Nauert tweeted on Monday, Oct. 15. It was noticed across Tehran.

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