Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, May 5, 2021—A very small percent of Iran’s population can afford rice, the state-run Shahrvand Online website reported on May 3. Quoting the secretary of the Rice Importers Association, Shahrvand Online wrote, “As a result of the increase in the price of rice, only 15 million of Iran’s 82-million-strong population can purchase rice without difficulty and consume this nutritious product.”
According to surveys and studies, 70 million of Iran’s population are among the middle and impoverished classes, Shahrvand Online reported.
The secretary of the Rice Importers Association further said, “People who could purchase Iranian rice might still be able to afford some kind of rice. But the people who were buying foreign rice at 80,000 rials per kilogram didn’t have the means to purchase Iranian rice, which is priced at 260,000-300,000 rials per kilogram. Today, Iranian rice is still out of reach for these people, and neither can they buy foreign rice. Therefore, rice is disappearing from the tables of these families and the important thing to note is that nothing is taking its place.
“At a time that the price of protein products such as meat, poultry, and eggs is also not good, the reduction of rice consumption is not good at all. Climate changes and the possible decline in the the current year can render conditions worse than they already are, and with rice becoming even more expensive, it might disappear from the people’s diet at an even faster rate.”
In this regard, a May 3 report by the state-run Eghtesad News website further confirmed the increase in the price of rice. According to this report, foreign rice, which was being sold at an average 103,000 rials per kilogram last year is being sold at 245,000 rials this year, which indicates a 137-percent increase. Accordingly, Iranian rice has increased from an average 239,000 rials last year to 354,000 rials this year. In some cases, rice is being sold at 435,000 rials per kilo.
This large price increase happens at a time that most of the Iranian population is already living under the poverty line and are struggling to procure their most basic needs. The poverty line for many areas of the country has surpassed 10 million rials per month. Meanwhile, many worker families earn no more than 2.5 million rials and are hard-pressed to put food on their families’ tables. The declining economic conditions have triggered protests by all walks of life across Iran. The past few weeks have seen protests by workers, pensioners, farmers, and government employees in many cities, all of whom are faced with economic grievances aggravated by the worsening coronavirus outbreak.