As the regime fails to address the mounting demands of retirees and workers, demonstrations and strikes continue to take place across Iran.
There were a number of protests over the weekend, including from Iran's Social Security Organization retirees, employees of the Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), and retirees and employees of the National Iranian South Oil Fields Company.
According to the regime-run Statistics Center of Iran (SCI), the household inflation rate has reached 45.5%. About one-third of the country has inflation over 50%, based on the same report, which is likely to not reveal the full picture as the regime continues to shield the dire extent of the crisis.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also estimates the current inflation in Iran to be 47% and food inflation in mid-summer reached 90.2% according to the Iranian Statistics Center.
Based on Volunteer Activists Institute’s (VA) data, a non-profit independent organization based in Amsterdam from April to June 2023, the number of labor protests in Iran rose fourfold compared with the same period in 2022.
Many Iranian National Oil Company operations have been transferred to quasi-private companies in recent years, and most work is done by temporary contract workers with little pay or benefits.
It is often the military or other state entities who control these so-called private companies, or well-connected regime insiders using government security forces to suppress labor demands.
This year's budget deficit may be $13.5 billion, or 30 percent, according to a report released by the parliament's research center. However, independent analysts believe it is closer to half. In addition, the report revealed a budget deficit of $10 billion in the first four months of the current year.
Experts believe it is almost a given that current and former employees in the country take to the streets to demand their livelihood, particularly given their dire economic situation and a lack of sufficient budget.
“Economic problems make it impossible for them to remain silent,” Sattar Rahmani, labor rights activist and former political prisoner, told Iran International.
“A strike in the oil and petrochemical sector is a warning to the regime, which depends heavily on these industries. They fear protests may spread in the south of Iran, and if so, the regime won't be able to handle more workers joining in,” he explained.
He believes that if the various sectors better coordinate their strikes and protests, harsh measures taken to silence them would be fatal for the regime.
A research done last year by Khalilollah Sardarnia, titled “Analysis of Social Guild Protests in Iran from Perspective of Street Politics Theory,” at Allameh Tabataba’i University, notes the lack of trust in civic-guild assemblies.
Researchers such as Sardania believe that since 2017, social and guild protests in Iran have taken a new direction. Some of the differences are attributed to "spontaneous, leaderless, innovative protest tactics." The 2019 November protests are considered to be the zenith of that wave which happened after an overnight increase in fuel prices showing the power of industrial action, not least in today's climate of unrest facing the regime.