Iran: As poverty increases, authorities continue to raise prices

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, December 16, 2020—“The slope of rising commodity prices has steepened,” the Iranian state-run Tabnak website reported on December 15. According to this report, the latest statistics published by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade show that the prices of all goods have increased by 20 to 107 percent in comparison to November of the previous year and comparing these statistics with reports from previous months shows that the prices of commodities is rising at an accelerating pace.

“The highest hike was in the price of Pakistani basmati rice from 110,700 rials (about $0.45) in November last year to 240,300 rials (about $0.94) in the same month this year,” according to Tabnak.

Ironically, on the same day, the regime’s Consumer and Producer Protection Organization increased the price of diesel engine oil by 53 percent and gasoline engine oil by 40 percent.

“The new pricing has been aimed at preventing any decline in supply and shortage of this commodity at the market and maintaining the situation in minimum until the end of this year,” according to the ISNA news agency on Tuesday, December 15.

Poverty in Iran

Poverty in Iran

The rise in prices happen while state media is constantly warning about the deteriorating living conditions of millions of Iranians.

The state-run Jahan-e-Sanat daily reported on Tuesday that only three deciles of the society are above the poverty line.

“Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, the economy was not in good shape and had been suffering from acute pneumonia for many years,” Jahan-e Sanat wrote in its report. “With the spread of the Covid-19, its condition has worsened and now is hospitalized in the ICU. As a result, people’s tables and pockets are becoming more empty day by day. According to experts, the middle class is on the verge of extinction. Also, according to reports, the poverty line has reached to 100 million rials (about $962). More than half of the population is below the poverty line.

“According to statistics, there are 11 million unemployed people and residents of informal settlements, as well as 21 million people living in unsuitable urban neighborhoods who do not have access to basic public services.

“The situation of families with special, rare, and disabled patients is many times worse than others, and experts worry that with this flow, we will see an unbridled increase in poverty line, and all of our country’s population will fall below the poverty line.

“On the other hand, many retirees and workers with a declared salary of 30 million rials (about $116) automatically fall below the poverty line… About 5 million people in the lower three deciles are deprived of any social protection insurance, of which 2.6 million are the elderly.”

The living conditions of the people have been reported to be so dreadful that the head of the Budget and Financial Supervision Committee of the Tehran City Council announced yesterday: “Today seven tenths of the people are poor and only three tenths of the society are above the poverty line…We never had such a situation. The social harm is very important in Tehran. During last week’s visit to the shelters, it was found that the number of poor people that go to the shelters has doubled. The rate of theft has doubled, and according to research, social harm has increased among the middle class and poor.”

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