Regime Official Acknowledges Widespread Child Malnutrition, Extreme Poverty is to Blame
An official linked to the Iranian regime has acknowledged the devastating effect that extreme poverty is having on the Iranian population. The Deputy of Health and Support of the Hamedan Provincial Relief Committee revealed to the state-run ISA that the province was suffering from a crisis as cases of malnutrition in children have exploded.
Ali Bahiraei said, “3,083 children under the age of six in Hamadan province suffer from malnutrition”. He was of no doubt that extreme poverty was behind the worrying figures.
#Iran's regime is funneling billions of dollars in support of terrorism abroad while tens of millions of Iranians suffer in poverty.
The Iranian opposition coalition NCRI had unveiled Tehran providing over $100 billion to maintain the Assad regime in power. pic.twitter.com/GcL750vYwq
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) October 20, 2018
A Crippling Economic Crisis
Iran is in the midst of a devastating economic crisis brought on by decades of economic mismanagement and pandemic corruption. In the last six months, the rial has lost approximately half its value against the dollar, crippling Iranians purchasing power and leaving many in the grips of extreme poverty.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) August 18, 2018
More than 75% of the Iranian population in Sistan and Baluchistan provinces live in conditions of poverty. Many struggles to purchase enough food to feed their families.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 19, 2018
The Chairman of Tehran’s Council, Mohsen Hashemi, said that the mullahs’ “quick and careless formation of policies” has taken its toll on the economy, prompting a wave of inflation that shows no sign of letting up.
Alarm Bells are Ringing
Bahiraei is not the first regime official to raise their concerns over rising food shortages. Two MPs, one from Sistan and Baluchistan and another from Zahedan, also highlighted the problem in interviews.
Mohammad Amini Fard, the representative for Sistan and Baluchistan said the province “ranks as the worst such province” for food shortages. He also commented that the province “ranks very low regarding development and unjust wealth distribution, and unfortunately due to the lack of natural resources and an 18-year drought, the province is facing an enormous food shortage”. As a result, many villagers are leaving the province and heading to nearby cities.
Amini Fard’s comments are supported by University studies which show the province’s population has a smaller height and lighter weight than the rest of the Iranian population.
The parliamentary representative for Zahedan, Alim Yar Mohammadi told a similar story. “The people of this province’s villages don’t have adequate drinking water or even bread. By any standards they are living in very poor conditions”, he said.
The malnourished population are also at risk of disease, exacerbated by their emaciated conditions. Diseases and illnesses are spreading in the worst affected areas.
The conditions are also forcing rural villagers to fight for their survival. Mohammadi said, “when the people of the province don’t enjoy adequate food supplies, it is highly likely people will start eating the meats of animals such as cats and crows.” The villages in the south of the province are the worst affected.
A Humanitarian Crisis?
What began as an economic crisis, is quickly becoming a humanitarian one. Villagers from rural communities are heading to the outskirts of cities in search of work and food. These people are homeless, jobless, and in a desperate state. But the cities are offering little in the way of salvation.
Those that are able to earn a living as street vendors, face harassment and violence at the hands of regime officials.
These victims of malnourishment need help. Not beatings. But under this bloody and violent regime, they will find only further economic distress, repression, and violence.