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Foreign Affairs

Hundreds in Tehran Protest ‘Mismanagement’ of Social Security

Several hundred Iranians gathered in Tehran on Monday to protest what they see as government mismanagement of social security funds and to call for the resignation of Iran's health minister.

Iran's government-authorized national trade union � known as Workers' House � organized the protest outside the health ministry headquarters. Workers' House timed the demonstration to coincide with Iran's national day of social security, which marks the anniversary of the founding of its social security agency, according to the Persian calendar.

The Iranian Labor News Agency, which is run by Workers' House, posted online images of protesters holding signs and chanting slogans demanding government recognition of what they say is their inalienable right to social security benefits such as health insurance. Iranians contribute a portion of their salaries to a government-run social security system that is required by law to provide benefits to current and retired workers. ILNA said the protesters were angered by what they see as government mismanagement of those funds and a resulting shortfall of health benefits for workers.

In one video clip, demonstrators also chanted for the resignation of Iranian Health Minister Seyyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, whose ministry oversees the social security agency.

In another clip, protesters could be seen forming a human chain around the social security agency building in another part of Tehran on Monday. ILNA said they were trying to symbolically protect the agency's funds.

ILNA said there was a visible Iranian police presence at the protest sites. It said security personnel were trying to ensure that the demonstrations proceeded peacefully.

Iran has seen frequent public protests this year by citizens who accuse local and national officials and business leaders of mismanagement, corruption and oppression.

Source: Voice of America


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