Why in Oil-Rich Iran, People Protest Poverty

Oil-Rich Iran

Iran has lots of oil and gas., The South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate Field in the Persian Gulf, which it shares with Qatar, is thought to be the largest natural gas field in the world. Iran had income of about US$50 billion a year selling its oil before US sanctions.

Nevertheless, today, in Iran, the people are suffering from unemployment and high prices.

Retirees Protest

Reportedly on the morning of Tuesday, October 16, a large group of retirees protested in front of the regime’s program and budget organization in Tehran. Protesters from different provinces, including Fars and Kermanshah, have come to Tehran to demand raising their salaries in line with inflation and the poverty line, implementation of a coordinated payment system, balancing their salaries, and paying their efficiency insurance premiums.

retired iran government employees protest in oil-rich Iran.
Retired Iran government employees.

The crowds chanted slogans such as: “Imprisoned teachers must be freed, imprisoned students must be freed, prison is not the place for teachers, cry from all this injustice, the poverty line is six million; our salaries are two million.”

According to government news agencies, the protesters said that the salaries they receive do not even cover 10 days of their expenses in a month. The regime officials have announced in the past few months that retirees have lost more than two-thirds of their purchasing power. This is despite the fact that their purchasing power has fallen even lower over the past few months.

Teacher Protests

On October 14 and 15, teachers and educators across the country refused to go to classes and staged sit-ins to get their minimum rights. The regime arrested a number of teachers to prevent the spread of this sit-in. In some cities, teachers chanted “imprisoned teachers must be free.”

teachers protest
Teachers Protest

The reason behind all this unrest is that, Iran in recent years has financed billions in supporting its allies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, and keeping Assad in power. While they send money to others, Iran’s people are suffering from unemployment and high prices.

truckers strike iran.
Truckers Strike Iran

Iran Funds Proxies

The amount of Iran’s funding for its proxies in the region is impossible to figure out, because much of the funding comes in the form of arms and equipment from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as the transport of fighters and supplies in aircraft operated by Iranian state-owned airlines like Mahan Air. Iran extends instrumental support to its allies also through the services of its officers as military advisers and by setting up Shi’ite militias that it trains and deploys across the region.

The Trump administration on Tuesday leveled a bevy of harsh new sanctions on a top Iranian fighting force known to be training children and other soldiers that are engaging in terrorism in Syria and other regional hotspots, according to senior Trump administration officials.

The sanctions hit “a vast network” of businesses and financial institutions supporting Iran’s Basij Resistance Force. The Basij is a paramilitary organization tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC. IRGC is the Islamic Republic’s chief fighting force, widely known for conducting terrorist operations outside Iran’s borders, including ones that have killed Americans.

Oil-Rich, Human Rights Poor

In addition to its involvement in violent crackdowns and serious human rights abuses in Iran, the Basij recruits and trains fighters for the IRGC-QF, including Iranian children, who then deploy to Syria to support the brutal Assad regime,” according to the administration. “Since at least early 2015, the Basij has recruited and provided combat training to fighters before placing them on a waiting list for deployment to Syria.”

To end this, one cannot expect the mullahs and the regime’s leaders and officials provide any solutions.

The solution lies in the people’s escalation of protests in an uprising to drive the regime to change.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.