By Hossein Beizayi
A quick or profound and in-depth look at the economic metrics of Iran under the reign of ayatollahs reveals a sorrowful truth, the increasing rate of inflation, the increasing rate of unemployment, the increasing rate of government corruption, and embezzlement, and the increasing rate of people approaching the poverty line. In a country that ranks one of the top five countries in the world regarding its wealth of natural resources, the color of happy and comfortable life has been on a fading trend since the inception of the regime of the mullahs.
The alarming economic statistics of the Persian calendar year of 1400 that came to an end a couple of weeks ago and the new year’s initial stats bear no relief for the ordinary citizens of Iran. On the contrary, all signs indicate that more economic hardship is on the near horizon for the people of Iran.
Millions more Iranians were driven below the poverty line in the new Persian year 1401
Khosrow Foroughan Gransaye, a member of the Chamber of Commerce: “This year, not only will absolute poverty not disappear, but it will increase a lot, and low-income deciles will face much more problems, and a large increase in prices will occur.”
Economic analysts predict that in the Persian year 1401, the inflation rate will be near 70 percent if there will not be a nuclear deal and sanctions are not lifted. The government will face a significant budget deficit this year. Due to the low incomes of various working classes and employees, these factors show that more households in Iran will be pushed below the poverty line in the new solar year. The sharp increase in taxes reflected in Ebrahim Raisi’s budget for the year is interpreted as the salt of a bleeding wound that will tighten ordinary citizens’ financial restraints even further.
Fatemeh Moghimi, Member of the Board of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture: “If the government wants to compensate the budget deficit by collecting taxes, it will be a great injustice to the real consumer, the people.”
Many economic experts and analysts believe that in the Persian year 1400, Iran’s economic situation went through a worse period and the economic problems in production, inflation, and budget deficit worsened than in previous years.
Ferial Mostofi, head of the Money and Capital Markets Commission of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Improper economic policies of the government, including market interventions, tariffs, and preferential exchange rate policies, issuance of sudden changes in the laws and the lack of proper implementation of the law and lack of oversight and transparency in the government, all create a bad business environment, despair, and hopelessness. The unpredictability of the business situation could result in recession, bankruptcy, and closure of many enterprises. Therefore, the government is one of the main causes of the bad economic situation of the year 1400.”
She adds, “Even if an agreement was reached, sanctions were lifted, some capital will be provided to the government that can partially offset the budget deficit. Of course, the government may choose not to inject this money into the market, which is the wrong policy and will cause the recurrence of unfortunate events again.”
In another revelation, the head of the Money and Capital Markets Commission of the Tehran Chamber added that “we should not expect economic growth and many changes this year, because even if an agreement is reached, more than half of the year will be devoted to adapting the situation to the provisions of the agreement.
The Raisi administration has promised to reduce inflation, but the Tehran Chamber of Commerce predicted Iran’s inflation rate next year at 27.5 percent in a report presented in October this year.
According to this year’s budget bill, government employees earn about 6 to 8 million tomans (Iran’s currency). The working class, retirees, and pensioners of the Social Security Organization will receive a figure of 4 to 5.5 million tomans. This is while the poverty line is estimated at 12 million tomans. This means that working-class, retired, and employed households generally have an income of about one-third to one-half of the poverty line.
In this regard, Alireza Mahjoub, secretary-general of the government organization “Workers’ House” in March 1400, told ILNA that the minimum wage set for workers, at best, will provide only two-thirds of the livelihood basket set by the Supreme Labor Council. Alireza Mahjoub also warned that eliminating the “preferred currency” would affect inflation next year. The cost of items such as bread, potatoes, and inputs would increase six to eight times.
The above figures, statements, and predictions unanimously suggest that in 1401, not only will there be no economic relief for the people of Iran, but more families will be driven below the poverty line.
In his speech on the occasion of the New Year, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, acknowledged that the Iranian people are facing extreme livelihood difficulties, soaring prices, and inflation and that these problems won’t go away anytime soon. “It must be relieved. We hope that some of these problems will be solved this year because they won’t be solved all at once. They will have to be solved gradually,” Khamenei said, referring to the multitude of economic problems that have driven the lives of Iranians into poverty, “Rushing and saying that it will all be solved soon is not realistic.”
Ironically, his remarks are in sharp contrast to the preposterous claim by his handpicked president, Ebrahim Raisi, who had boasted that “poverty will be eradicated in two weeks.” Indeed, Ebrahim Raisi, who had the full endorsement of Khamenei, has had a disastrous economic record in his first year in office. Contrary to his campaign promises, Raisi has miserably failed in addressing economic problems. His policies have led to a hike in inflation and prices of basic goods. Raisi’s comic prediction of the elimination of poverty in a country where his government is the sole source of the impoverishment of the people of Iran was taken as a joke on social media rather than a wise statement offered by the head of a government.
Experts and analysts have also highlighted the spread of poverty and misery in the new year. In an interview with ILNA on Tuesday, April 2, Khosrow Foroughan Granasayeh, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, referred to the Raisi comment and said, “In the way, things work, not only does absolute poverty not go away, but it will spread further.” Learning from the 43 years of the reign of the ayatollahs in Iran, one thing is as clear as the bright sky: The regime of the mullahs is neither willing nor capable of bringing any kind of relief to the suffering people of Iran from all strands of life. Another reality is also is as clear as a bright clear sky: regime change is the one and only solution for any economic relief and a hopeful future for the people of Iran.