Iran’s economic crisis: Poverty and misery plague the nation
10 July 2023
Iran News Update has published an opinion piece entitled “Iran’s economic crisis: Poverty and misery plague the nation”.
Avaz.Biz reprints the article.
There is currently a buzz surrounding the latest trip of Iranian regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi to South America, as if someone has rediscovered the continent. The Iranian regime’s media has been exaggerating the economic and political achievements of the visit.
Upon returning to Iran, Raisi claimed that the people of South America were surprised and delighted by his presence. Such claims are absurd, leading some of the regime’s media outlets to mockingly state that Raisi’s trip to Venezuela was portrayed as if he were the first Iranian president to discover South America.
However, the reality in Iran tells a different story. Millions of Iranians are suffering under the weight of poverty and hardship. Basic necessities like bread and yogurt have become difficult to find. While government statisticians report economic growth, domestic media outlets reveal the truth.
They report that the poverty index reached 50% in 2021, making Iran one of the countries with a high poverty rate. The price of chicken has soared to 100,000 tomans per kilo, while housing prices have skyrocketed to 60 million tomans per square meter. Mafia gangs are taking advantage of the inflationary conditions to profit from these situations.
Media sources also highlight the people’s apathy towards the government and the country’s political climate. Many citizens are simply trying to survive, paying little attention to the government’s activities. With the constant increase in the price of yogurt, people might even be unable to afford it.
The truth is that the puppet government of Supreme Leader Khamenei is economically bankrupt by any standard. Like previous governments, this administration is incapable of implementing the regime’s development plans. The state-run daily Arman admits that no government since the revolution has successfully implemented the laws of the country’s development program, with an implementation rate ranging from 27% to a maximum of 35%. Despite claiming to fight inflation, this government has witnessed severe inflationary periods.
The situation is so dire that even some media outlets are warning about Raisi’s lack of understanding of the country’s conditions. Recently, the regime’s parliament Research Center reported an increase in the poverty line rate from 19% to over 30% in a decade, indicating that more than 30% of the population now lives below the poverty line. A member of the parliament’s economic commission stated that the poverty line in Tehran alone is 30 million tomans.
Now, the incompetence of Khamenei’s chosen appointee is widely acknowledged. The state-run daily Eghtesad points to the recklessness of the 13th government as the main cause of the chaotic economic situation in the country. The government lacks expertise in solving economic problems and has not only failed to alleviate the people’s economic burdens but has also exacerbated them.
However, what the regime’s officials excel at is plundering people’s property and capital, particularly through manipulating currency exchange rates. This allows them to profit from the difference between the official and market rates.
For instance, the state-run website Darayan reveals that due to a lack of income, the government resorted to reducing the exchange rate from 28,500 tomans to the free market rate of 52,000 tomans, thereby pocketing the difference. It warns that such actions push people to their breaking point, leading to protests that may be suppressed through costly military, political, and law enforcement measures.
As a result, the intentional poverty created by the regime is covered up with superficial measures and inadequate subsidies to alleviate the condition of the poor. Hassan Sobhani, a faculty member at Tehran University, criticizes the regime’s previous programs, stating that they intentionally created poverty and then attempted to reduce the number of poor caused by their own policies. Presently, approximately 60 million people in Iran are in need of subsidies.
In light of these circumstances, the director of the cultural research institute of Islamic civilization and development candidly admits that the country resembles a leaning tower tilted 70 degrees when describing the overall situation.