The Mullahs’ regime’s four-decade rule has plunged Iranian society into a web of crises, some of which have reached catastrophic proportions. While it’s challenging to quantify the exact number of crises, experts in social economics within the regime have identified at least seven mega-crises. These encompass issues such as pensions, bank failures, insurance, water and environmental concerns, energy shortages, hyperinflation, and investment pitfalls. Occasionally, additional crises like government debts, the non-oil economy, and unemployment are added to the list, further accentuating the grim statistics.
What’s noteworthy in this context is the intricate interplay and mutual influence of these mega-crises on each other. For instance, inflation and the worsening poverty rate are intimately connected, with rising inflation pushing more families below the poverty line every day. The colossal bank bankruptcy crisis, akin to an iceberg of unknown depth and size, is directly linked to the government’s mounting debts. The government, often portrayed by the regime’s media as treating banks like inexhaustible piggy banks, is ironically the largest debtor within the Iranian banking system.
Moreover, the super-aging crisis is inextricably linked to the pension crisis, with both issues surging in parallel. The aging population is further exacerbating the retirement crisis.
Pension funds represent the sole source of financial security for hardworking individuals who have diligently saved over the years. However, almost all of Iran’s 18 pension funds find themselves in dire straits. Despite legal constraints against withdrawing funds except for retirees’ monthly payments, these funds have become susceptible to theft and embezzlement under the rule of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
A glaring example is the grand embezzlement within the cultural reserve fund, initially reported as an 8 trillion rial corruption case, later revised to 15 trillion rials, and ultimately settled at 14 trillion rials. To understand the culprits behind this astronomical embezzlement, one needs to consider that this fund comprises four holdings in ‘petrochemical and energy, finance and investment, construction and services,’ encompassing over 30 companies in total.
When petrochemicals are mentioned, it’s impossible to overlook the close ties between the IRGC and petrochemical holdings, exemplifying the reach of this entity into every corner of the country’s economy, bolstered by Khamenei’s unwavering support.
Retirees have consistently taken to the streets in recent years to assert their rights. Their protests, borne out of frustration with the government’s indifference to their pleas and legal requests, symbolize an ongoing uprising among the Iranian people. Recognizing that they make no progress within the confines of the government’s bureaucracy, they have adopted the slogan ‘only on the street, we will get our rights’ and united their demands with those of other segments of Iranian society. In recent days, cities across the country have witnessed retiree gatherings.
The state-run daily Ham-mihan aptly states, “None of Iran’s major challenges, including the formidable pension fund crisis, can be resolved in isolation. These mega-challenges are so interconnected that expert methods alone cannot tackle them. They demand comprehensive political solutions. Without such solutions, these crises will only deepen and broaden, rendering conventional remedies increasingly limited and ineffective.”
Therefore, the mega-crisis surrounding retirees and their depleted funds, a consequence of mullah-led embezzlement, finds no resolution within the corrupt structure. Not long ago, a social insurance manager suggested a disturbing solution: “We may have to sell Qeshm and Kish [islands] to pay retirees’ salaries.”
Source » iranfocus