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Most of Iran’s families live in absolute poverty

Poor locals living in huts – Sistan & Baluchistan province, southeast Iran
Poor locals living in huts – Sistan & Baluchistan province, southeast Iran

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 22, 2021—According to downplayed and official government statistics, 30 to 50 percent of Iran’s population are living below the poverty line. However, the actual statistics are sometimes revealed in media headlines and remarks of government officials.

In 2017, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Speaker of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) said in a presidential debate that only four percent of the population was prosperous and 96 percent were poor.

"Aside from the tenth decile, the rest of the population need direct and indirect subsidies," said Mohammad Shariatmadari, the regime’s Minister of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare on May 16, according to the state-run Arman daily. "Since 2017, the population below the poverty line has doubled," he added.

On June 17, the Resalat newspaper quoted the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Tehran saying "the population living below the poverty line has doubled."

"Rising inflation has further widened the country’s class gap and the population below the poverty line is increasing," he added.

A June 12 report published by the state-run Hamdeli daily  states: "Most Iranian households are currently living in absolute poverty. Absolute poverty is a severe form of poverty in which people are unable to provide for themselves and their families, including food, safe water, health, education, housing and, of course, information. According to the United Nations, in 2020, incomes below $2.19 per person per day will push people below the absolute poverty line.

“This means that today, every person in Iran who has less than 500,000 rials (about $2) to live is considered below the absolute poverty line. For a family of four this adds to about 60 million rials (about $240) per month… Based on such a classification, it is clear that the population of about 42 million Iranian working families, and most families with administrative employees among their members, are at risk of absolute poverty since their income does not reach about 60 million rials per month.”

On May ,1 Resalat daily cited the head of the Supreme Chamber of Trade Unions as saying, "A 39 percent increase in workers' wages this year could eventually cover ten to 15 percent of this group’s living expenses.”

Of course, these circumstances describe people who are employed and have an income. However, the vast unemployed population who have no home are constantly living in hunger and cannot even make ends meet.

This indicates that the regime has divided poverty among the vast majority of the people, and in return distributed wealth among the leaders and their inner circle, and that “four-percent minority.”

Poverty has caused many people, especially the educated and skilled, to leave the country and many are thinking of going abroad. Those who lack such an opportunity must make ends meet with empty tables.

This is due to institutional corruption and rent-seeking economy in Iran under the mullahs’ regime, in which state entities, with the regime’s support, have been able to reap enormous wealth by plundering the country’s natural resources and people’s assets.