As the sharp decline in the value of the Iranian currency, and the rising inflation of essential commodities have led to a severe increase in Iran’s poverty level, the poverty line has reached crisis levels.
According to state-run ILNA news agency, Rohollah Babaie Saleh, a lawmaker in Iran’s parliament from Buin Zahra in northwestern Iran, explained, “Previously, the poverty line was below 3 million tomans, but this has changed with regard to the current economic situation in the country; the poverty line has now reached salaries of less than 6 million tomans.”
Iran’s Parliament Research Center recently reported that the line of poverty was 3 million tomans for a family of four. However, many believe that the regime is not being straightforward when with its announcements of inflation rates or poverty levels. In fact, state media has even acknowledged a “statistical confusion” in the official inflation rates announced by the government.
The head of the Salary Committee of the Supreme Center of Islamic Labor Councils, Faramarz Tofighi, claims that regime officials deliberately create confusion on the line of poverty and inflation. “We have not seen any of the administrations officially announce the line of poverty,” he said. “While relevant officials refuse to provide information on the poverty line, unofficial authorities provide different and sometimes contradictory statistics; we have so much of an information vacuum that data on the suitable food pyramid for Iranian households has still not been specified! The most basic component to determine the poverty line is the food pyramid that we do not have.”
The labor official added that the issue was neglected like “thousands” of other issues throughout the years, and asserted the regime had not announced the vital economic statistics “because of fear of the consequences of statistical transparency, since announcing the poverty line can have a direct impact on many decisions in macroeconomic issues.”
This trickery impacts ordinary Iranians like the municipal worker from the city of Nishapur in Razavi Khorasan Province, who now receives less than he did before the rapidly increasing prices. He said, “Before this I received 2.7 million tomans since I had two children but in the new contract, my salary was reduced to 1.5 million tomans.”
The widespread protests within all levels of Iranian society indicates just how dire conditions are. More than 9,500 protests in 2018 were related to economic problems. Municipality workers in at least 10 cities gathered to protest not receiving their wages over the last 3 months. As well, municipality workers in Sistan and Baluchistan, and the southwest province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, held rallies to protest not receiving two to eight months of their salaries.