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The Effects Of Rampant Inflation On Iranians’ Lives – OpEd

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In recent days, the exchange rate of US $ vs Iranian Rial, price of goods such as, egg, meat, rice and almost everything has reached a record high. Despite Biden’s victory in the US election and the possibility of returning to JCPOA, the prices of goods are still rising. Buyers and sellers alike agree that everything is getting more expensive. These days, business owners are quicker than customers to curse the perpetrators, meaning the rulers for this situation. Consumers and business owners say:

• They have no pity and compassion.

• They do not care.

• If the situation becomes critical, they all run away abroad.

• Their children have taken the money abroad to prepare for their escape when necessary.

• They beg everyone to let them stay in power, but they speak differently in front of people.

• Skyrocketing prices have nothing to do with sanctions, they are the ones involved in the scheme.

• They talk nonsense. Chicken price has nothing to do with the USA. An egg that is not a Peugeot car whose parts are imported. They cannot even supply eggs!

Rising prices, while foreign exchange rates have fallen by as much as 20 %, have surprised and upset even government supporters. This point is important since after the November 2019 crack down and massacre and downing of Ukrainian passenger jet by IRGC, the supporters of the regime do not publicly defend the rulers as before and prefer to be silent!

But why?

I asked this question from different people. A mullah of a mosque answered, “these things do not concern him”, but a worshiper blamed the government for the economic problems. A woman believed that Iran’s economy had nothing to do with the value of the dollar, and it was now clear that the government was lying to people. For this lady, like other Iranians, the question is why prices are still rising despite the decrease in Dollar exchange rate?

A young man says: “Previously, an egg was worth 300 tomans, but now it is worth 1,300 tomans.”

In the beginning of spring 2017, the price of 2 dozen eggs after the rise in price due to Persian new year, reached 13,000, and now, in the beginning of autumn 2020, when the price of Nowruz holidays( Iranian New Year)on goods has not yet been taking effect, the price of 2 dozen eggs is between 34 to 36 thousand tomans. In the past two years, the Iranian youth have experienced what their grandfathers may have experienced during the First and Second World Wars!

A restaurant worker says that the current situation, on the one hand, has ruined people’s lives and irritated them, and on the other hand, the authorities’ bluffs. He refers to Hassan Rouhani’s remarks of Iran having a better economic situation than Germany and Ali Khamenei’s speeches about conquest and victory. After some cursing, he asks, “What’s the matter?” “Why are they doing this?” This is a question that everyone has these days from each other and from the country’s officials, but the problem is that the rulers do not see the need to answer to people and they lie whenever they open their mouths.

When the government is not accountable to the people, the people are not accountable to each other. These days, the relationship between business owners and consumers is: “If you want the goods, you have to deposit cash, and if you do not want it go away and do not take our time.” In the past, the salesmen begged to sell their goods, but for several years now customers have been begging for goods. The customer must deposit money in cash one week in advance. No one can say I want this or that brand. “You have to take whatever brand it is.”

Impact of sanctions

A retiree says: “I was an accountant. I always write down my personal account summary and my expenditure. Sometimes I compare books from different years as a pastime. Last year, one billion tomans was added to the value of my house, but my living conditions have worsened from the previous year. He says that despite having a house and a fixed salary of 3.5 million tomans, he has been forced to spend a large part of his savings from 2017 up to now.

A lady says Islamic Republic officials are lying to people about sanctions. If the rise and fall of the dollar exchange rate has no effect on rising prices in Iran, then why did they say that sanctions are to blame? They tell people because of the sanctions there is no medicine, but custom is full of foreign-branded home appliances. The custom’s parking is full of luxury cars. What kind of sanction is this that the drug is sanctioned but the foreign car is not sanctioned?! If the banks are under sanctions, how do they send the money for these foreign cars abroad?!

Barebones are continuously becoming more expensive

A construction worker says, “A country where you cannot even afford to buy bone should be removed from the map”. Barebone that the poor people buy to make broth with tomatoes, first reached 8,000 tomans per kilogram, then 10,000 tomans, and then 25,000 tomans. Even to buy that you must go to the butcher a few days in advance and request to put the barebones aside for you!  Barebone is dog food. People buy chicken bones instead of chicken and eat it as soup. What kind of life is this? Khamenei’s turban is worth more than my monthly salary! I hope there will be a Judgment Day in which Iranians will settle their accounts with him. Where in the world is barebone consumed as human food? Even in Afghanistan, no one eats bone as a food. In Syria, which has been at war for several years now, no one eats bones. People consumed bread and yogurt and they made yogurt more expensive. I say to the salesman, hasn’t the dollar exchange rate gone down, so why has yogurt become more expensive?! He says it is a government decree. Goddamned all governments’ officials ….

The news of those who commit suicide due to poverty can be seen on news outlets almost daily. These include suicide of 10-11-year-old children, young people and parents who can no longer bear the daily pressures and turn to self-immolation protests. Currently, more than 60% of Iranians live below the absolute poverty line.

30 million of Iranians have been driven to the outskirts of cities because they cannot afford to rent and live in very poor conditions. But what can be clearly felt in the words of these people is a state of hope. They are waiting for another uprising like the one that took place in November last year.

Everyone is waiting for a spark to explode like a barrel of gunpowder. When that happens, it will be bigger than last year’s uprising, because people carry forward their experience of previous uprisings. In fact, the next uprising should not be called an uprising, but the people want a revolution to change the entire ruling system. A government that in the last 40 years has turned the Iranians into one of the poorest people in the world with all its natural resources due to corruption and incompetence.

Cyrus Yaqubi

Cyrus Yaqubi

Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the economy of the middle east countries that are relying on the oil revenue and comparing their progress to their ruling system, specially covering a variety of topics about Iran.

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