Past time for Raisi to Address Iran’s Socio-Economic Crises
Iran’s economy is in a major freefall, to say the very least. All economic indicators indicate that the economic situation is rapidly deteriorating, and with the country’s continuing trend of skyrocketing inflation, the prices of basic goods such as bread, meat, and rice are rising on a daily basis. The state-run media continue to report on the dismissals and strikes of workers who have not been paid their salaries for months, many of whom work in government-run factories when discussing the effects of the economic crises on society.
With housing prices in some areas rising by more than 50% in recent months, owning a home in Tehran has become nearly impossible for most people. Iran’s currency has lost more than 70% of its value against the US dollar since 2018. The official rate of inflation is estimated to be around 40%, but the true rate is much higher. As a result, more than half of Iran’s 82 million people live below the poverty line. Unofficial estimates also suggest that the country’s unemployment rate is much higher than the official figure of 11%.
Milk, yogurt, and eggs have all increased by more than 80% in the last year. According to the State Statistics Agency, the cost of vegetables and meat has increased by more than 70%, while the cost of staple foods like bread and rice has increased by more than 50%.
The government prints more banknotes to account for shortages in the local currency, but without backing up its already mounting debts, which is the cause of the vicious inflation rates. As a result, a large number of people have become extremely poor. Even government statistics show that the number of citizens living in poverty, defined as earning less than $46 per month, increased by more than 40% last year.
The state-run ISNA news agency reported on April 15 that regime president Ebrahim Raisi was dissatisfied with the rise in basic goods prices and had ordered regulators to look into the ‘hidden causes.’ Raisi attempted to blame unknown sources for the price hike, saying, “It is unacceptable that a private company or factory can suddenly increase the price of its goods.”
These are the words of a president who admits to having no control over prices, despite promising to fight inflation on numerous occasions since taking office last year.
This comes at a time when food, housing, fuel, and basic commodity prices have reached previously unheard-of heights. The mullahs, as usual, blame imaginary and unknown factors for the people’s economic and social problems rather than accept and take responsibility for their own actions.
“Do not try to deceive the people or call the critics of the current situation, of which you are the founder, counter-revolutionary and dependent on the United States and Zionism,” even someone loyal to the regime, such as Mohajeri, said. The truth is that such ridiculous excuses are no longer acceptable.”