Iran Economy NewsPoverty and Lack of Freedom, Reasons for Iran’s Continuing...

Poverty and Lack of Freedom, Reasons for Iran’s Continuing Protests

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Protests across Iran have become chronic, and one of the reasons for this is the increase in poverty and critical livelihood conditions among the people.

Poverty and corruption are now the main problems of the country’s economy. Even the Iranian regime’s supporters are criticizing the promises of regime officials to find a solution, which have not gone beyond hollow promises.

The situation of the deprived people is getting worse. In a country of 84 million people, over 65 million people are struggling with the effects of poverty in various ways. It begs the question of how can the regime continue to pretend that this situation is normal, and given the issues society is facing, how can the regime expect the people to stop their protests?

Let’s assume that chicken can be found in the market at the best price of 60,000 tomans ($1.7) per kilo, to buy a three-kilogram chicken, you must pay 180 thousand tomans ($5.1). The minimum daily wage of workers in 2022 is about 140,000 tomans ($4). If we add the wage benefits to this figure, the daily wage reaches a maximum of 200,000 tomans ($5.7). How can a worker with a daily wage of 200,000 tomans, and a small cash subsidy, be able to afford all the components of a basic livelihood basket and feed their families?

More than 63 percent of the country’s population can’t even cover half of their living expenses, and despite this, livelihood problems have become the latest concern of the regime.

Today, if a family of three has a fixed monthly income of 17.6 million tomans ($500), they should be able to afford living expenses, rent a house, buy a few kilos of meat and chicken a month, and cover the costs of education and medical treatment. However, the wage gap of around 70 percent of employed workers with this minimum figure is more than 63 percent.

According to the latest calculations, while average working families earn around 17.6 million tomans, a huge gap between living expenses and wages equates to more than 63 percent. Based on indicators and available statistics announced by the regime, 9 out of 10 families receive subsidies, which includes nearly 74 million people of the country’s population.

During the gasoline price increase, the regime announced that based on statistics and organizational indicators, it would conduct a national survey and identify the people entitled to receive gasoline subsidies. Based on this, the regime’s institutions announced that 60 million people of the country’s population had the right to receive gasoline subsidies.

The salaried population, employees, workers, and retirees have lost the possibility of maintaining life on minimum wages without support. The country’s absolute poverty line includes people classified as contacts of support organizations. At present, the absolute poverty line has reached 8 to 9 million tomans ($260) per month.

The relative poverty line also includes households that, in addition to the prerequisites related to livelihood and general food costs, are also faced with the challenge of meeting the basic expenses of education, welfare, or housing.

According to published indicators, the cost of rent in Tehran is consistently over 7 million tomans ($200). The average share of the cost of providing housing in the urban areas of 31 provinces last year was equal to 36 percent, which means that the said share has gone far beyond the conventional value of less than 30 percent across the world.

Even though the relative poverty line in Tehran and big cities is 20 million tomans, 65 percent of the country’s retirees earn less than 8 to 9 million tomans ($260), which means they are in the absolute poverty zone. Apart from certain groups, most of the employees are paid well below 14 million tomans.

According to the statistics announced by the regime’s supporting organizations, 30 million people in the country are reliant on the services of the relief and welfare committee and charities.

The liquidity growth indicator currently shows a 160 percent increase. All these factors, along with rampant inflation and the incompetence and corruption of the regime’s officials, have caused poverty in Iran to turn into a super crisis. This, along with the lack of basic human rights, has led to the Iranian people taking to the streets in recent months to fight for their rights and bring an end to the theocratic regime, not just to protest the compulsory hijab rules.

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