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Poverty and hunger can lead to protests and massive unrests across Iran

A scene from the November 2019 uprising in Iran
A scene from the November 2019 uprising in Iran

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 18, 2020—While hunger, illnesses and no hope in the future thanks to the mullahs’ regime has become excruciating in Iran and millions are living under the poverty line, various state media outlets are on a daily basis issuing warnings and sounding alarm bells about the threats of protests and a new round of nationwide unrests.

The state-run Hamdeli daily published a piece on August 18 titled “Iranians have lesser and less to eat,” emphasizing that the Iranian people became even poorer in 2019 in comparison to 2018. Their food rations have decreased 4.5 percent in comparison during the past year, the report adds.

“Javad Hosseinzadegan, head of the Iran Customs Center, issued a report saying that in 2019 families suffered a 4.5 percent decrease in their spending. The country’s economic growth was calculated at negative seven percent and non-oil economic growth stood at negative six percent,” the piece adds.

This negative economic output leads to people having less to eat, an increase in the number of people living in city slums, families going in enormous debts, more families dropping from the middle class and joining the country’s poor population. Some are even describing the current phenomenon as the “middle class evaporating.” The list goes on regarding the variety of dilemmas imposed on Iran’s society due to poverty and the resulting malnutrition.

In July the price of foreign rice increased by 85 percent and eggs by 66 percent in comparison to the same period last year. According to the country’s statistical reports, the prices of 21 of 24 food items have increased between four to 85 percent. Twenty-three percent of the population either no longer eat red meat or only a few such meals in a year. Workers are also suffering from malnutrition, some not even being able to purchase rice and eggs.

This state daily goes on to warn about such circumstances leading to riots and protests by Iran’s lower class, very similar to the scenes witnessed during the November 2019 uprising.

“They always say that hungry people will pour into the streets. This means that poverty and hunger have a potential of leading to protests and massive unrests,” the Hamdeli piece adds. “Protests resulting from hunger have sparked many political developments and even revolutions… Many global events have started with protests due to hunger and led to further demands… Therefore, it is necessary that officials realize that the impact of poverty is nothing simple and they should not downsize such a threat.”

On July 13, the state-run Arman daily published another piece voicing similar concerns. “The extreme poverty index in Iran has increased by 26 percent during the past year alone… This report forecasts unpleasant developments in the future that are beginning to take shape in the depth of our society. During the past year the people’s economic difficulties have increased extensively… the pressures imposed through our monetary and financial policies, and economic mismanagement have all resulted in lesser and lesser people being able to experience any leisure and recreation.”

“Considering the increase in the country’s inflation and reaching the level of 50 percent, even worse consequences are awaiting our economy, especially for people’s living conditions. Of course, the situation will deteriorate even further and there will be even more dangerous consequences for the ruling state,” the piece elaborates.