Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, December 10, 2020—In the last year of Hassan Rouhani's tenure as the president of the Iranian regime, the living conditions of millions of Iranians have deteriorated to such an extent that even the most poignant and heartbreaking words and phrases no longer express all the dimensions of this unprecedented tragedy in the contemporary history of Iran. Many researchers cite famine cases during the years of first and second World Wars to compare and measure the extent of the deterioration.
To draw an analogy with the current coronavirus disaster, when the number of those affected by the catastrophe reaches the millions, we are facing an epidemic.
Tehran’s poverty line: 100 million rials
Ten years ago, it was estimated that the poverty line in Iran had reached 15 million rials. Six years ago, this number reached 25 million. Two years ago, this line increased to 50 million rials.
In the following two years, poverty line took a leap to 60, 70, and 80 million rials. Today, it is said that the poverty line in Tehran has reached 100 million rials, which has been especially hard on low-income families.
The poverty line has reached the seventh decile!
Years ago, the poverty line was determined by the life index of people living in the lower third decile of society. But now the poverty line sits on top of the middle class.
"Over the last three years, we have seen an exponential increase in the cost of living in Iran, which has pushed the poverty line to the middle of the seventh decile," said university professor Zahra Karimi. We are seeing that the middle class approaching the lower class as many studies have shown that the poverty line in Tehran has reached 100 million rials ", she added, according to a November 25 report by Tasnim, an outlet affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
In November, Mohammad Mehdi Mofatteh, spokesman for the Program and Budget committee of the Majlis (parliament), announced that according to a plan approved by the committee, 60 million people would be eligible for receiving subsidies to purchase basic goods.
Acknowledging this fact means that 75 percent of Iran’s population are entitled to receive food subsidies. But in practice, the regime provides no solution for this livelihood crisis.
Rising inflation is the result of the regime’s policies
This summer, inflation in Iran exploded. In 2018, the annual rate of inflation of Iran’s economy under the mullahs’ rule officially reached 27 percent.
In 2019, inflation rose to 38 percent, and this year it stands at 40 percent. In other words, we are witnessing 100 percent cumulative growth inflation in just three years.
In this regard, economist Vahid Shaghaghi-Shahri, who spoke to the state-run Fararu website on July 1, said: "Housing rates have quadrupled in the country since 1997, car prices have quadrupled, rents have almost quadrupled, and the cost of people's living items have increased significantly. The cost of housing accounts for 30 percent of the cost of living, so quadrupling it since 1997 has put a lot of pressure on families, making it difficult to meet their basic necessities. Based on prices, it has been proven that the purchasing power of the Iranians in 2019 has decreased in comparison to 2011. The Gini coefficient has now risen to more than 42 and the gap between economic classes has widened."
In an interview with Alef website on October 1, Hossein Raghfar, another government-linked economist, said: "Unfortunately, the government acts completely in favor of rent-seekers and the wealthy and people of power, and there is no hope of reforming the budget next year. I believe that in reality, the next government's debt will only increase, so one cannot expect much from 2021 budget and rely on serious budget reforms."
Three quarters of the society suffers from economic problems
A long time ago, the poverty of the working class and impoverished segments of the society was an indicator of inequality, injustice and oppression of the regimes ruling Iran. The Shah and mullahs’ regimes were indifferent to the lower strata of society, and only sought their delusional desires of power. Now, however, poverty and misery have made millions of average Iranian people homeless and in need of food.
A look at the prices of goods and commodities necessary for survival reveals this deplorable situation. "The country's 50 million working population are living in difficult conditions due to rising inflation, rising prices of goods and services, and declining purchasing power, and the government is not paying attention to improving their livelihoods," a member of the labor community to the Bazar website on November 24. “High prices are rampant in the market now, so that the chicken is 360,000 rials per kilogram and milk is 120,000 rials per bottle. This increase in prices can be seen in all goods and services. This year, we also experienced a 50-percent inflation rate in the country.”
The tragedy is food consumption in Iran has reduced to the point that even bread is becoming scarce. In the past, when food prices rose, bread consumption rose and it was clear that the deprived people were filling the gap of other food items with bread. But now, even this most basic item has disappeared from the tables of many families.
Now, the question is not how long this dire situation in Iran, which has witnessed two major uprisings in the last three years, will continue. The real question is, when will it lead to another social explosion, this time by the army of the poor, famished, and unemployed. All signs indicate that this decisive moment will come sooner rather than later.