This weekend saw large, nationwide protests, from many different groups. Small investors in the stock market, pensioners, nurses, and farmers took to the street were all expressing their dissatisfaction with the economic plight and the resulting living conditions. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported that the government continues to ignore their grievances, and the protestors turn their efforts towards calling for a boycott of the upcoming sham presidential election in June.
Creditors of the Tehran Stock Exchange held protests in Kermanshah, Zanjan, and Mashhad among others on Saturday. The regime leaders, having incited public investment into an artificially inflated stock market. The market crashed earlier this year and wiped billions of dollars of investors’ money.
“We will not vote, we’ve heard so many lies,” chanted the protestors on Saturday. The frustration and delusion come from the lie that a change in the political line-up has no change in economics and people’s lives. As has been seen over the recent decades, regardless of who is occupying the presidency, corruption and repression will continue to permeate Iranian society.
Simultaneously, customers of Azvico car manufacturers protested the headquarters of the ministry of industry, mine, and trade. The state manufacturer had failed to deliver vehicles that were pre-purchased for years previously. Whilst these customers have been holding regular rallies for years, they added their voice to the creditors and pensioners, chanting for a vote boycott.
Due to the upcoming elections, the regime is unwilling to confront any situations that would further exacerbate tensions in society and has been reluctant to confront the economic protestors. Saturday however saw security forces attack the Azvico customers and arrest several dissidents in Tehran.
Over the same days, more than 3000 farmers in Isfahan gathered to demand their right to the waters of the Zayandeh Rud River: the main source of water for land irrigation. Various projects of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have disrupted ecosystems and deprived farmers of water.
The plight of the farmers has not been acknowledged by the regime and as a protest, farmers led a procession of more than 700 vehicles in protest. Farmers also threaten to boycott the elections and remove ballot boxes if their needs are not met. The protest carried on despite threats by the Justice Ministry banning farmer’s demonstrations.
In this regard, MP Mohammad Taghi Naghdali, said, “The patience of the farmers of Isfahan is running thin because of the mismanagement of Zayandeh Rud by the energy ministry. Today, Isfahan province is faced with a crisis in irrigation and potable water, and unfortunately, officials don’t listen to the people. Neither the energy minister nor other officials have any serious intention to address the problems.”
Pensioners took to the streets again on Sunday, with coordinated rallies and social media posts. They took place in front of the offices of the Social Security Organization in more than a dozen cities.
“Our problems will be solved if there was one less embezzlement case,” radiated from the chants, speaking to the long-standing corrupting and absorption of Iranian wealth that has been stolen by the government.
Pensioners complain their pensions are meager and often late as the living conditions of Iranian pensioners continue to worsen. The rial has lost more than 80% of its value in the last few years, causing price inflation on basic goods. Pensions and salaries were never adjusted.