Widespread Iran poverty will lead to regime’s downfall — Iran News Wire
- October 31, 2018
- by Adena Nima
The issue of poverty was discussed in a meeting on Sunday in Tehran University’s Social Sciences Department where experts on the matter discussed the cause of the growing poverty in Iran.
According to the Deputy Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare who spoke in the meeting, at least 25 to 35% of Iranians are under the line of poverty.
Poverty in numbers
Official numbers on the extent of poverty in Iran vary. The official number is usually given as 35% but on March 11 Shahab Naderi, the Parliament Representative from a town in Kurdistan Province said that 80% of the people lived under the line of poverty in Iran.
In August, citing official numbers, Mohsen Hashemi, the Head of the Tehran City Council said that one third of Iranians lived under the line of poverty while one tenth lived under the “line of absolute poverty”.
In April, in comments carried by state media, an economist said that the line of absolute poverty for an urban family of four was around 4 million tomans. Based on this claim, he had concluded that around 33% of the people suffered from extreme poverty in Iran and that six percent of them lived “under the line of hunger”.
Iranian officials have acknowledge that more than 1.5 million Iranians cannot afford food.
Hedayatollah Khademi, a member of the parliament also severely criticized the dire state of the economy and the people’s living conditions in July.
“You have made the Iranian people miserable. You have taken away their respect and confidence. They don’t know what to do due to poverty and desperation. They have turned to selling their organs including their kidneys due to poverty. Look what you have done to a country that makes up one percent of the global population but has eight percent of the world’s natural resources,” he had said on July 29.
The MP also said that it had been 40 years that 200 families had taken the destiny of Iran as a “hostage”.
In comments carried by the state-run ISNA News Agency, the Secretary of a government controlled labor organization, Khaneye Kargar, who represents the towns of Saveh and Zarandieh in Markazi Province said that workers had lost their purchasing power.
“The purchasing power of workers has decreased up to 80% and this issue has led to numerous problems for the families of the working class,” Davoud Mirzaie said.
Fighting poverty not a priority for Iran
In comments carried by the state-run ILNA state-run News Agency, a university professor who also spoke at the poverty meeting said that the policy of the government was to directly hand over money to people to buy their favor instead of fighting against poverty in Iran.
“After the revolution, organizations were divided into three groups. These were private, government and public organizations. Public organization including the Mostazafan Foundation, Shahid Foundation, municipalities and the Astan Quds Razavi Foundation among others, eventually became powerful and there was not enough oversight on them and they are now even bigger than the government,” Saied Madani said.
“Today, some military institutions own 812 companies and they have signed 1,700 contracts only with the government and they act without government oversight,” the social sciences expert added.
Former presidential candidate Ibrahim Raisi is the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, a massive business corporation with a real-estate portfolio worth an estimated $20 billion, which effectively functions as a slush fund for Iran’s supreme leader. Raisi helps generate the funds that enable Tehran to suppress dissent at home and export terror abroad.
The charity was originally established to supposedly help the needy and “provide financial grants” to poverty-stricken citizens.
According to a recent report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies the endowment presides over more than 100 businesses in a variety of fields, including car manufacturing, agriculture, financial services, construction, and oil and gas, many of which conduct business overseas. It also controls the border between Iran and Turkmenistan, a special economic zone for trade with central Asia.
The Astan Quds Razavi — Farsi for “the holy belongings of Imam Reza” — manages the Imam Reza Shrine, a vast complex in Mashhad that includes the world’s largest mosque by area, a library, and other religious institutions devoted to the memory of the eighth Shiite imam. Some 25 to 30 million pilgrims visit the shrine annually, making Mashhad the country’s most popular tourist attraction. Astan Quds Razavi also owns nearly half of the land in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city.
The FDD report, titled “Profiles of Iranian Repression”, which was published on October 29 said that the endowment received no oversight by any other government body, undermining any attempt to determine its full size and impact.
Poverty will lead to unrest
University professor Saied Madani said that “we will witness more social riots” as a result of the spreading poverty, during the Tehran University poverty meeting.
“Poverty stricken people will move towards rioting and bringing down unworthy governments”, Saied Madani added.
In March, Massoud Nili, the economic advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview with the state-run Iran Daily that they needed to “renew public trust” and warned about upcoming protests that would be larger than the January protests.
“If we continue like this, we will be in danger and there is a possibility that we would not have an opportunity next time,” he said.
“Today the country is like a patient that is in critical condition in the hospital but the patient’s relatives are fighting with each other while the doctors are also fighting with each other,” he added.
After widespread protests in Iran in July/August in a number of Iranian cities in protest to worsening economic conditions and high prices, social sciences expert Saied Madani said that poverty had turned into one of the fronts for conflict between the people and the system in remarks carried by a state-run website.
“Different voices were heard from the protests in the period between December/January and July/August, just as the chants of the protesters were different depending on the area of the protest,” he said adding that “the source of all the protests was frustration with the current conditions.”
“The Iranian society has entered a period of successive crises. The successive crises have spread to all the political, social, cultural and economic spheres and have become the subject of conflict between the system and the people. “
In comments carried by the state-run Jame’e Iranian Website, the university professor also identified the source and reasons behind the protests as “definitely” internal, stressing that government institutions would “hardly” be able to persuade the people.
He said that some fronts in the conflict had led a part of the society to reach the conclusion that Iran’s political system was illegitimate, adding that suppressing the protests would only aggravate the crisis.
“The policy of suppressing and detaining protesters only leads to the continuation of the crisis,” he said.
Originally published at irannewswire.org on October 31, 2018.