Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 2, 2020—Iranian officials admit that prices of goods in the county are rising by the day but by the hour. The main cause of the skyrocketing prices, of course, is the regime and in particular the government of Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani’s government has had a direct role in increasing the prices of goods and services that are in the exclusive control of the government, including gasoline, electricity, transportation, bread, and housing.
The regime is also printing 20 trillion rials worth of banknotes every day and pouring it into the market, which further feeds into the inflation.
Under the rule of the mullahs, fluctuations in prices are not governed by the laws of economy and supply and demand. They are the direct result of the corrupt policies of a regime that seeks to compensate for the loss of $50 billion in oil revenues from the people’s pockets. This situation is also the result of the corruption of the regime-controlled institutions and companies that make astronomical profits by stockpiling and manipulating different markets, including medicine, food, bitumen, cement, and housing.
The secret plot to raise prices
On one hand, the regime desperately needs to increase the prices to cover its astronomical budget deficit. But on the other hand, it fears social reactions and outrage such as the nationwide uprisings that erupted after the gasoline price hike in 2019. The regime has therefore adopted a special method to raise prices, carried inconspicuously and without an official announcement. This is what the regime has been doing for years for the price of water, electricity, gas, and telephone. But now, it is using the same method for the vital needs of the people, such as bread.
For example, by reducing the quota of government-provided flour, the regime forces bakeries to buy flour from the open market at three times the price. These excessive costs spill over into the consumer market and make and raise the price of bread without the government taking official responsibility.
On the open session of the regime’s Majlis (Parliament) on Sunday, November 1, several MPs raised concerns about the explosive state of the society regarding the increase of prices.
“The prices of goods and services are not changing during the year but every hour. The people are losing their power under poverty, high prices, the closure of employment-generating workshops, and illegal smuggling,” said MP Kamal Hosseinpour.
MP Hossein-Ali Haji-Deligani said, “We are constantly witnessing the rise of prices of services and goods, the main factor of which are the government institutions. While the country is already grappling with high inflation, they increased the price of bread. Every government body is secretly raising the prices.”
Pervasive poverty that has led to misery and hunger
The result of regime’s systematic and cruel looting of the country’s riches is the pervasive poverty that is engulfing the Iranian society and has destroyed the middle class. Iran is now officially the second most miserable country in the world after Venezuela.
Statistics published by the regime’s official sources on poverty and hunger in Iran’s society clarify some of the facts. According to the official report of the Institute of Business Studies and Research affiliated with the Ministry of Mining Industry and Trade “due to decrease in purchasing power and wages, families have reduced their per capita consumption.” (Daily Jahan-e Sanat, November 1, 2020)
According to the report, food prices have increased by 55-100 percent from March 2018 to September 2020. For example, during this period, the consumption of rice per capita has decreased from 14.9 kg to 12.4 kg. The same reduction in consumption, which means a smaller decrease in the purchasing power of the Iranian people, can be shown in proportions in all food items. Some food items, such as meat, have been completely removed from the table of the impoverished segments of the society. According to official sources, 8.2 percent of Iranian families have not consumed meat even once in the past year.
This tragedy has now extended to bread. In the past, when food prices rose, bread consumption increased, and it was clear that the underprivileged had taken refuge in using bread to survive. But for a while now, the consumption of bread has decreased as well, and this shows that a large number of people are not even able to buy bread and are in fact hungry. So, we must conclude that the table of millions of Iranian people has become completely empty.
Therefore, the main question is not how long society can bear this situation, especially after two major nationwide protests in less than two and a half years. Rather, the main question is when the social explosion is going to take place? All facts indicate that it will happen sooner rather than later.