The ever-increasing levels of poverty in Iran are leaving the country’s citizens must resort to extreme measures to survive. This ranges from people collecting trash to make what little money they can to support their families, to families renting rooftops and people resorting to sleeping in public transportation buses (BRT).
The state-run Tejarat news wrote on December 29 that, “Sleeping on BRTs is their only choice, and a seat on the bus is their cheap castle in the capital. But this cheap house costs them between 3.5 to 7.5 million rials (20-30 USD) per month. They are employed, but their menial jobs prevent them from renting a room.”
They stated that as we are currently during winter, the temperature in Tehran at night barely exceeds three degrees Celsius. In a bid to keep warm, people from all walks of life head to Tehran’s bus station to take refuge every night on the buses, paying between 15,000 to 24,000 rials (7-10 USD) for the shelter. However, they are forced to change buses every 45 minutes. One driver explained that his boss has threatened to fire him if any passengers remain on the bus at the end of the line.
This dire situation, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic, high housing prices, worsened by the regime’s ineptitude, mismanagement, and corruption, has resulted in the emergence of various social tragedies in recent years.
Iranian sociologist, Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar spoke to the Etemadonline website last year, stating that many women, who are heads of households, do not have appropriate housing and are forced to live in shantytowns in tents, or even in underground holes.
He said, “Previously, the number of slum-dwellers was said to be around 25 million, but today it has risen to 38 million. We can surely say that slum dwellers in Tehran have increased by 60%.”
Reports from last year also indicated that many people cannot afford to rent a house or even a room, so resort to renting rooftops just so they have somewhere to sleep. The current poverty line in Iran sits at around 120 million rials, so many Iranians have fallen under this line due to extremely low salaries. Iranian teachers earn around 60 million rials, while ordinary workers are lucky to receive 25 million rials, and with the skyrocketing prices of food and housing, they are struggling to survive.
Poverty is not a crime. But the ones causing it are certainly criminals. The criminal mullahs’ regime should be blamed for the extreme poverty, like any other problems in the country.
Iran’s wealth from their oil and gas resources and reserves has been squandered greatly by the regime, who have used it to fund their terrorist proxy groups and support their nuclear program, instead of being used to help the country’s citizens. The extent of poverty in Iran has even left some people forced to sell their body parts just to make money to keep their families afloat.
In his recently announced 2022-2023 budget plan, the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi has ignored the millions of Iranians who are desperate for help and has instead increased the budget of the regime’s terrorist organizations, such as the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The IRGC’s budget has increased by 58% whereas salary increases for ordinary Iranians have only been boosted by 10%, which keeps them way below the poverty line.
Even if one were to assume that those sanctions are the real cause of Iran’s economic woes, the regime could immediately end them by stopping its malign activities such as terrorism and human rights violations. But it is either willing or capable of doing so because the survival of Iran’s ruling theocracy depends on them.