Iran is mulling the idea of selling the two southern islands of Kish and Qeshm and Khuzestan province to pay pensioners' arrears.
The director general of social insurance in Iran’s Ministry of Labor, Sajjad Padam, said: “Even if we sell two to three million barrels of oil with sanctions removed, we still cannot solve the pensioners' issues."
The Iranian government is facing a major challenge to pay pensioners arrears and raise minimum wage enough to meet the rising cost of living in a crippling financial crisis, leaving many elderly citizens without the money they need to survive.
The total amount of claims of pension funds by the end of 2020 was more than 501 thousand billion tomans (nearly 9 billion USD).
In recent months, protest rallies have been staged by workers and retirees in various cities to show anger at the regime's inability to address their issue.
According to the most recent census, there are nearly six million pensioners living in Iran. This number has been steadily increasing in recent years, as more and more people reach retirement age.
Iran’s retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women but over half (55%) of senior citizens do not receive pensions and over one third (35%) of them live below the poverty line.
In 2021, The Supreme Audit Court of Iran said that 89% of retirees have a monthly salary of between 50 and 100 million rials (200 to 300 USD) which is believed to be much lower now since the rial tumbled to all time lows.