Mehr state-run news agency quoted the Housing Minister as saying: “Presently, 860,000 households in the country live in a single room or a smaller space which is the result of poverty in the cities. Therefore, we need to build 1.5 million houses in the cities and villages. Moreover, 2.7 million houses in the cities need renovation.”

Last year, a family needed an income of 12 years to buy a house, meaning that they had to work for 12 years and spend that income on nothing else to afford a house. It took only an income of 8 years to buy a house in Iran in 2005.

He emphasized: “We need to recognize the phenomenon of poverty in the cities in Iran. This is a serious phenomenon and needs to be accounted for in the society. The average population under the poverty line in 2005 was 26%, but it has increased to 35% (or 28 million people).”

Reports from the opposition and from other organizations inside the country indicate that this 28 million is less than 2/3 of the actual figure, and right now 50 million people are truly living under the poverty line.