Iran’s pension fund crisis: A ticking time bomb amid economic crunch
He warned that Iran could soon be forced to sell Qeshm and Kish Islands to pay retirees’ pensions, stirring controversy within the regime and angering Iranian pensioners and workers. President Ebrahim Raisi, fearing a public backlash, fired Padam, who criticized the regime for sacrificing “clarity and honesty.”
Padam’s revelations highlight the ruling kleptocracy’s part in devastating Iran’s economy. Iran’s Social Security Organization (SHASTA), a holding company that oversees 187 companies in diverse sectors, has been bankrupt for years. Although owned by workers and retirees, its CEO and board of directors are appointed by the Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare, leaving the true owners without a managing role.
Retirees and Social Security Pensioners Rally in Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, Rasht, Khorramabad, Kermanshah, Qazvin, and Ahvaz#Iran #IranProtests https://t.co/JKD0JcGsjz pic.twitter.com/GT0wxzqXPO
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) January 17, 2022
Under Hassan Rouhani’s order, SHASTA went private, and its shares were sold on Tehran’s Stock Exchange. The government’s inability to pay its debt to the Social Security Administration led to the sale of SHASTA’s shares, resulting in the bankruptcy of some pension funds and leaving workers and retirees in financial difficulty. The ruling theocracy’s rapacious need for funds to fuel illicit activities has led to the egregious plunder of workers’ and retirees’ hard-earned money. The pension funds’ crisis is not a recent phenomenon but a longstanding issue dating back to the early 1900s.
Iranian pensioners have held weekly rallies in recent years, protesting their deplorable conditions and the regime’s institutionalized corruption. In November 2022, Raisi dismissed the pension fund manager in fear of potential protests, but his Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare, Solat Mortazavi, admitted that the dismissal of managers alone would not suffice in addressing the predicament pensioners face.Mortazavi stated, “The national pension fund is facing 75% dissatisfaction. In 1404 (2025-2026), our dispute will reach 80 quadrillion rials in funds affiliated with the Ministry of Labor Cooperation and Social Welfare.”
Besides, millions of Iranians are covered by the country’s Social Security Organization (Shasta), which is bankrupt. https://t.co/tDV5z3Kyl0
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2022
The Iranian regime’s deep-seated corruption has rendered it impotent in resolving the country’s economic crises. To ameliorate the pensioners’ plight, authorities must first tackle the pervasive corruption within the regime. However, this is unlikely to happen as the regime is entrenched in corruption, and such action would be akin to shooting the system in the leg. As the state-run Etemad daily warned, “The pensions funds’ crisis, like other social and economic problems, is like a timing bomb. It should be defused soon, or it will have devastating consequences.”
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Tags: Iran human rights, Iran Protests, Iran Uprising, Maryam Rajavi, Regime Change