Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 2, 2021—During a visit to the mausoleum of Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the speaker of the Majlis (parliament), acknowledged the deep economic challenges that the people of Iran face. “Today, we have problems and challenges. The people are seeing this in their lives and are bearing the shortcomings and pressure.”
This, of course, is a very mild description of the disastrous conditions of the Iranian society after 42 years of mullahs ruling Iran.
Ghalibaf also acknowledged that during the four decades of the mullahs’ rule, the government’s claims of revolution have in effect “weakened the workers, teachers, government employees, and all toilers, and it has rendered their tables emptier.”
The living conditions of the people have become so critical due to the severity of poverty and deprivation, that in the words of MP Vali Esmaili, who spoke at the parliament session on Sunday, “The knife has reached the bones of the people.”
The deteriorating conditions and the possible social backlash has terrified regime leaders and prompted them to make remarks in hopes of dampening public outrage.
We saw a glimpse of this possible outburst of popular anger during a trip by Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri visit to Khuzestan on February 3, in which angry people surrounded him and shouted at him while he was visiting Khomeini Port. The situation grew so tense that Jahangiri was forced to flee in a hurry. He later tried to feign sympathy by admitting to the explosive atmosphere of the society. “In November 2019, bad things happened in the country, especially in the port of Mahshahr,” Jahangiri said, referring to the massacre of the citizens of Mahshar by security forces during the November 2019 nationwide uprising.
The next day, Jahangiri, still terrified from the people’s rage, pleadingly said: “We need dialogue, which requires tolerating the language of criticism and raising the threshold of patience.” It’s surprising to hear this from a top official of a regime whose only method of “dialog” is torture and executions.
Iranian people are living in misery
“The people's tablecloths are not only shrinking, but they’re disappearing altogether,” Ismaili, the MP, said in his remarks in the Majli session on Sunday, adding, "Inflation, skyrocketing prices, and the rising exchange rate of the dollar have had serious consequences for the working class.” Ismaili, whose remarks were reported by several state-run newspapers, admitted that working families are struggling to provide their most basic needs and their purchasing power continues to diminish every day.
On January 28, 2019, ICANA, the news agency of the Majlis, reported that Iran is “the fifth richest country in the world in terms of natural resource reserves, and with one percent of the world’s soil and population, it has 7 percent of the world's mineral resources.” This means that Iran is times richer than the world average. But, as Ismaili said in his remarks on Sunday, "In (parts of the country) people transport water with cattle and have to use melted snow as drinking water, and young people do not have the slightest job to earn a living.”
The situation has deteriorated to a point where the misery index in Iran has increased from 19.8 percent in 2017 to 70 percent in 2020, the Jahan-e Sanat newspaper reported on February 1. And, according to the Khabar Fori website, the costs of living have reached a point that “A marriage loan that could buy a house a few years ago can only buy three Barbie doll houses today.”
The Donyay-e Eghtesad newspaper reported that after the rise in price of chicken and eggs, the price of red meat is increasing again, and compared to the past week, its price has grown significantly.
Simultaneously, growing unemployment is robbing young people of their jobs, Jahan-e Sanat reported, and added, "we are facing economic challenges and youth unemployment in the country… 40 percent of the unemployed are university graduates.”
Acknowledging the poverty and deprivation of the people
Poverty, unemployment and the crisis of livelihood in Iran it is the flipside of the coin of corruption of government-run mafia gangs, all of which are linked to the office of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
In his remarks, Ismaili, who himself is a devout supporter of the regime (otherwise he would not be qualified to run for parliament), said, “Were some supposed to suffer while others live in luxurious palaces and drown in mythical rents, lust, wealth and power?”
Jahangiri admitted on Sunday: “Discrimination pains the people even more than poverty. We are witnessing the accumulated dissatisfaction, worries and grievances of the people.”
Jahangiri further said that the Iranian society believes that the government treats the poor and hungry with scorn and hatred while it tolerates government-backed thieves. “The people’s sentiment about corruption is that some people in the country are in the business of looting and amassing wealth while others struggle to make ends meet.”
It is clear that the current social crisis and the poor livelihood conditions of Iran’s people are the result of 42 years of corruption and astronomical thefts by regime leaders and agents whom former minister and parliament member Mohammad Gharazi described as the nation's “greatest domestic enemies” and “worse than the Americans.”
Poverty and hunger, on the one hand, and the corruption, looting, lavish lives of regime leaders on the other, are among the “reasons for the increase in anger in society” the state-run Resalat Daily wrote on Sunday. The outlet further warned that when survival is endangered because of poverty and hunger, “it is natural for any reaction to emerge from the people,” and one of these dangerous reactions could be the outburst of the rage of a fed-up society.