A glance at Iran’s state-run media shows the Iranian people’s deteriorating economic situation on the eve of Nowruz. Poverty and skyrocketing prices have “broken people’s backs,” and “salary of 50% of people cannot pay for even food,”, garbage collection has become an official occupation. Many people even must buy bread on credit.
On Sunday, for the eighth consecutive week, pensioners and retirees held protests across dozen Iranian cities. They are demanding higher pensions due to the increasing inflation and skyrocketing prices of their basic daily needs.
The state-run media and officials acknowledge a part of Iran’s economic crisis. Days before the Persian New Year (Nowruz), people are struggling with poverty. “On the eve of the New Year, skyrocketing prices have broken the backs of the poor,” said Javad Esmail-Nia, the Friday Prayer Leader of Bandar Lengeh in southern Iran Friday.
“More than 50% of the country’s population suffers from low wages and cannot afford food, let alone housing, clothing, travel, medicine, and treatment, or education,” wrote the state-run Resalat daily on February 28.
The regime distributes a minimal amount of subsidies, around 450,000 rials or $1.8 per month, based on the free market’s dollar value. Yet, the prices of goods are too high. “An Iranian citizen is only able to purchase one kilogram of fruit with the monthly subsidy,” Esmail-Nia added on Friday. During the public session on February 27, one of the regime’s MPs said: “By giving subsidies to people, it is like we give 100 to them and due to the rising inflation, they lose 200.”
Meanwhile, “On the eve of Nowruz, Iranians only have to look with regret at the price of 50 to 298 thousand tomans per kilo of nuts. Compared to the increase in the price of other popular Nowruz goods such as sweets and fruits, nuts are a cheaper commodity,” according to the state-run ILNA news agency.
Due to the regime’s corruption and wrong economic policies, Iranians are grappling with poverty. There are millions of unemployed. Those who have a job are receiving 2.5 to 3 million tomans. In comparison, “the average cost of a food basket for a family of four has reached 8 to 9 million tomans, and the poverty line has reached 10 million Tomans,” according to the state-run Arman daily on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the regime plunders the national wealth to fund its illicit activities. In May 2020, Heshmatullah Felahatpisheh, the former Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the regime’s parliament, said that the regime had paid Syria up to $30 billion. “I went to Syria, some people said I made up some expenses, but I repeat, we may have given Syria $20 to $30 billion, and we have to take it back,” he said in an interview published by the state-run Etemad Online news agency.
The regime’s economic policies have devastated Iran’s financial structure. “Liquidity growth has set a new record. Since the beginning of this year, 2328 billion tomans have been added to liquidity every day. By the end of February, liquidity has exceeded the impressive figure of 3300 trillion tomans or 3300 trillion tomans. The [regime wants to create wealth by printing money for the 16th year,” Iran’s state TV reported on March 12.
“The government itself officially says that 65 to 70 million people, if not receive 45,000 tomans of subsidy, their lives will be in trouble. Thus, it is simple to say that our achievement is public poverty,” said Hassan Sobhani, a former MP.
The regime’s actions have increased society’s restiveness. Daily protests by all walks of life, the uprising in Sistan and Baluchistan, and three nationwide uprisings in the last three years have shown the Iranian people do not want this regime. The regime has been able to oppress people momentarily, but the situation has reached a point that oppression no longer works. It only increases people’s hatred toward the regime.
“Hungry people can no longer be suppressed. It is possible to control the situation with repression in the short term. Still, it is no longer possible to control this situation with repression in the long run,” Fazel Meibodie, one of the regime’s top clerics, said on Saturday.
In simple words, the regime sows the wind and will reap the whirlwind.