Shortage in Iran Increases
By Mahmoud Hakamian
Over the past couple of years, inflation has been on the increase in Iran. This has resulted in an increasing number of people slipping below the absolute poverty line. The problem is widespread and affects people in every single one of the country’s provinces.
The United Nations defines “absolute poverty” – also referred to as “extreme poverty” – as a condition in which a person does not have access to the most basic of amenities.
That is to say, safe and clean drinking water, health care and food. It also includes the lack of sanitation facilities, education, information and shelter. People living in absolute poverty do not have access to social assistance or care.
Poverty in Iran is central to many of the social problems that exist in the country. This includes crimes, murder and robbery in particular, and addiction problems.
Sistan and Baluchistan, the province that borders Pakistan and Afghanistan is particularly affected by poverty. The province has a serious water shortage and a report by Iranian media suggested that 38 per cent of the people living here – around 1.23 million people – were living in absolute poverty during the year 2016.
However, although the situation was bad in 2016, the situation across the country is even worse now. The poverty crisis, although it was critical back then, is even more concerning now.
Inflation between October and November this year was 53 per cent higher than the same period back in 2016. This is an incredible rise in inflation that explains why absolute poverty has also risen so rapidly.
After the Sistan and Baluchistan province, Kerman – a neighbouring province – had around 33 per cent of its population living in absolute poverty in 2016. This is approximately 1.31 million people.
Many areas in the country suffer from very poor social services and horrendous infrastructure. Over the past few decades, the Iranian regime has let the problems get worse, choosing to ignore the problems rather than undertake the challenging task of remedying them.
Instead of prioritising domestic issues, the regime decided to focus its time, energy and resources on spreading chaos across the region. It has interfered in Iraq, supported the rebels in Yemen, propped up Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and interfered in the internal affairs of a number of other nations.
Huge sums of money that were freed up when previous economic sanctions were lifted could have made a difference to the people of Iran. It would not have eliminated all of the social problems, but it could certainly have prevented many problems from getting even more out of control.
Instead of admitting there is a problem, and then addressing it, the regime has decided to turn a blind eye to it and to downplay it.
There have been countless reports of people selling body parts including kidneys in order to be able to pay their bills. Alarmingly, many of those advertising body parts are healthcare professionals that have had their salaries withheld for months. Other reports indicate that people have been dwelling in pre-dug graves. How far does the situation have to go before the Iranian regime opens its eyes to the problem?