Following the people’s protests against an irregular rise in the price of mortgage and rents, officials claimed that they would soon implement the plan for imposing taxes on empty houses. This is while the plan had been passed by the Parliament (Majlis) several years ago, and it is unclear why the administration has yet to implement the plan.
“The government not only should impose taxes on empty houses but also everyone’s property in the housing sector must be controlled,” Fars news agency quoted Jafar Rasti, an MP from Eastern Azarbaijan, as saying on June 27.
“In other words, we must legislate that each person in Tehran should not be able to register more than five houses in his name. According to our statistics, a person in Iran has registered more than 2,000 houses in his name. How can a person have registered more than 2,000 houses in his name? A person with 2,000 houses can easily adjust prices,” he added.
He also admitted that many people have used their capital to purchase and maintain houses rather than invest in constructing factories.
These remarks have been raised while millions of Iranians have become homeless or pushed to reside in slums. On June 4, Tasnim news agency quoted the deputy minister of roads and urban development Mahmoud Mohammadzadeh as saying, “From 2006 to 2016, the number of tenant families has increased by 30 percent across the country and by 42 percent in the Iranian capital Tehran.”
In an interview with the News Channel TV on June 15, an expert in the housing sector revealed, “In the past four decades, we had a 10,000-fold growth in house prices in Iran.”
Over the past 41 years, the mullahs’ corruption and mismanagement have contributed to the creation of an unprecedented level of embezzlement, theft, rent-seeking, and the rise of sultans of gold coin, bitumen, paper, car, cigarette, sugar, face mask, flour, livestock feeds, and foreign currency. Now, it seems that Iranian rulers have been succeeded in creating the “sultan of housing.”
Conventional wisdom has it that the mullahs’ excessive regulations allow no one to start a business without having strong ties with influential individuals or entities in power. Furthermore, the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei controls over 60 percent of Iran’s economy through financial institutions and major holdings. Also, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) dominate approximately all the country’s borders and crossings. Ironically, in June 2011, the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described IRGC commanders as his “smuggling brothers.”
Iranian authorities are genuinely concerned about the public ire against their economic mismanagement that has pushed the country to the brink of collapse. In such circumstances, they publicly blame and criticize each other to cease citizens’ rage. However, the Iranian people believe that all of them are cut from the same cloth. In this respect, citizens frequently chant the slogan, “Reformists, Hardliners, the game is over,” as a sign of their hatred against the mullahs’ regime in its entirety.