A protest rally by Iranian retirees and pensioners in June 2022

Outrage As Iranian Retirees Receive Minimal New Year Bonus

Tuesday, 02/20/2024

While Iran funds billions of dollars into its regional proxies, retirees have been given a minimal new year bonus which falls far short of covering even the most essential expenses amidst the country's economic disaster.

Maryam Shokrani, an economic reporter, vocalized the frustration felt by many, stating, "They have deposited 25 million rials (less than 50 dollars) as pensioners' Eid gift; the money is equivalent to four pizzas and side dishes. Aren't they ashamed?!"

In Iran, the anticipation of the Muslim holiday of Eid which follows the Holy Month of Ramadan which begins next month, or the Iranian New Year, beginning on March 21, is often accompanied by the hope of receiving a bonus from employers.

The amount allocated for Eid or New Year bonuses has dwindled to such an extent that it no longer holds the purchasing power it once did. For countless families, the bonuses have become mere tokens, scarcely enough to cover basic necessities, let alone indulge in the customary tradition of purchasing new clothes for the occasion.

The size of the bonuses reflects broader economic challenges facing the country, including inflation and currency devaluation, which have eroded the value of salaries and bonuses alike.

In a bid to appease a disillusioned public on the eve of upcoming elections, Iranian workers are set to receive a government approved average salary increase of 20 percent starting in March, amid an annual inflation rate of around 50 percent. The new minimum monthly wage has been set at 115 million Iranian rials or about $230.

It comes as a slap in the face for workers and retirees alike. Iran's proxies across the Middle East from Lebanon to Yemen and beyond, received billions of dollars every year in funding, training and weapons from the regime, to the detriment of the country's civilians who have been pushed into the depths of poverty. Gaza-based Hamas alone has been receiving around $100 million from Iran for at least a decade according to the US Treasury while Lebanon and Yemen receive much higher patronage.

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