NewsSpecial WirePoverty in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Poverty in the Islamic Republic of Iran


Iran Focus – Editorial: The Iranian regime continues its mad dash towards a nuclear bomb, triggering an inferno of violence and chaos in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East along its path. Meanwhile, the majority of the Iranian population has found itself confined in an economic firestorm raging within Iran’s borders. Iran Focus – Editorial

Mar. 14 – The Iranian regime continues its mad dash towards a nuclear bomb, triggering an inferno of violence and chaos in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East along its path. Meanwhile, the majority of the Iranian population has found itself confined in an economic firestorm raging within Iran’s borders.

High prices of basic commodities choke the life out of a population already crushed by incredibly low living standards. There is hardly an opportunity lost for the Iranian people to complain and express their misery. This is while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign pledge in 2005 was to bring the oil revenue, a record 69 billion dollars last year, to people’s dinner tables.

From bread to meat to children’s diapers to clothing to houses, there is almost no product that has not turned into an out-of-reach luxury item for the majority.

For example, growing imports of flour by the regime, as well as some crop growers being hard hit by pests, have supplied the main causes for the 60 percent jump in the price of bread in the span of a few months. The most common food product on Iranian dinner tables, rice, has seen a nearly-150 percent price hike.

In Tehran’s main squares, unemployed women marked by their black chadors sit on pathways, desperately offering anything from socks to hair clips for sale to onlookers. Their weary eyes are nonetheless alert for the regime’s State Security Forces (SSF) who tend to aggressively disperse or arrest them in public. But, some of them are unmindful of their surroundings, too busy trying to quiet their screaming hungry toddlers.

At the insurance office, pools of single mothers, unemployed and retired men and women are turned away for various dubious reasons. The youths criticise the lack of jobs and senior citizens complain about the lack of affordable medical care and pharmaceutical drugs.

Poverty and economic hardships sway many to take refuge in drugs or get entangled in other types of social malady. Stories of depressed young men killed by alcohol poisoning or drugs, young women committing suicide by setting themselves on fire, and fake pharmaceutical drugs that end up killing or harming thousands, are so common that they plaster state-run dailies.

Housing prices have soared in recent months, up to sevenfold in some parts of the capital, making it hard or impossible for many to buy or rent homes. Experts claim that a shortage of over three million houses exists in Iran and the level of demand increases on a daily basis. According to official estimates, nearly one quarter of Iranian families do not own a home, a half of them low-income families.

The gloomy economic and social situation, in addition to a noticeable dark veil of suppression, has formed the basis of simmering anti-government protests. According to Iranian opposition sources, more than 5,000 anti-regime protests and demonstrations shook Iran in the past year alone. Amid public and televised hangings, which the regime uses to instill fear in a disenchanted population, the number of protests is nonetheless growing.

Realizing the devastating potentials of popular dissent, the Iranian regime continues to rule with an unforgiving iron fist. For example, eye-witness reports indicate that near Tehran’s Haft-Hoz square, where previously about four or five SSF cars maneuvered the streets, the number today is close to 13 or 14, with more on-foot agents keeping a close eye on the nearby locations. Plain-clothe police also intermingle with ordinary citizens in places where chances of protests are deemed high, such as university campuses.

At the height of World War Two, the writer George Orwell wrote, “One of the chief features of Fascist rule is the enormous number of police that it employs.” Their mere existence, Orwell added, show the nature of the Nazi difficulties. The situation in Iran bears a striking resemblance. There are security forces of all kinds operating in the country, including one dedicated to “mal-veiling” and even one for the mountains, to keep an increasingly resentful population at bay. State resources are thus inevitably squandered on the suppressive machinery while a restless population awaits the apt opportunity to rise from the ashes of economic ruins.

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