Impoverished Nowruz due to bankrupt economy in Iran

Iranians Struggle to Celebrate Nowruz in Grim Economic Climate

Impoverished Nowruz due to bankrupt economy in Iran

The bankrupt economy under the rule of the religious dictatorship in Iran has lowered people’s ability to do the traditional shopping at Nowruz

On March 21st, Iranians will welcome in the Persian New Year. Nowruz, which takes place on the first day of spring, is a celebration of freshness and renewal that predates the clerical regime by well over a thousand years. Nowruz is deeply ingrained in the cultural history of Iran and has persisted despite the mullahs’ attempts to limit public celebrations of the holiday.

Iranians celebrate Nowruz by buying new clothes and shoes, preparing Haft-sin tables, doing spring cleaning and decluttering, and hosting out-of-town family members. Large meals are prepared, and older family members give gifts of cash to children.

Economic Crisis

This year’s Nowruz comes in the midst of an economic crisis that has left 80% of the population under the poverty line. Many workers go months without receiving their wages if they are lucky enough to have jobs at all. With the majority of Iranians struggling to make ends meet, families are struggling to find ways to celebrate Nowruz traditions.

Some breadwinners have taken three jobs already just to pay the bills and feed their families. People are now taking additional work hours and cutting out extra expenses, such as eating at restaurants and going on vacations, to pay for Nowruz.

In Nowruz 2018, one U.S. dollar was equal to 3,500 tomans, exported tea cost 30,000-40,000 tomans per kilo, red meat cost 40,000 tomans per kilo, and sugar cost 2,800 tomans per kilo.

As of last week, one U.S. dollar is equal to 13,000 tomans, tea costs 140,000-160,000 tomans, red meat costs 120,000 tomans, and sugar costs 8,000-10,000 tomans per kilo.

Rent prices have more than doubled in the past year, and all goods except for bread and gas have more than doubled or tripled.

Wages have remained stagnant over the past year and are only expected to increase by 10-20% over the next year.

The state-run media has also acknowledged the troubling lack of purchases leading up to Nowruz. According to a recent article published by the ILNA news agency, “Neither vendors are happy with the market situation nor customers have a tendency to buy anything. It seems that this year, we start the year unlike any other year with high prices. There is little commotion in the bazaar… Even fruit prices have increased.”

Regime’s Denial

Meanwhile, regime First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri recently claimed that Iran’s economic problems were in the past.

The Iranian people are not fooled by the regime’s false claims. They know that the economic crisis is not over. That is plain. And they know that the responsibility for the problem lies at the feet of the regime. Anti-regime protests take place on a daily basis in Iran, and the MEK’s Resistance Units grow stronger each day. The people know that there is an alternative to the corruption and mismanagement of the mullahs’ regime.

Staff writer

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