In the face of limited and practically prohibited publication of official economic statistics by the Iranian regime, the living conditions of society have been unwittingly exposed through comparisons of statements made by various regime officials in recent months. This juxtaposition confirms, on multiple occasions, the deteriorating quality of life in Iran.

A report published on August 27 draws attention to the words of Ali Aghamohammadi, a member of the Board of Representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of Iran. He pointedly contrasts statements from the Director General of Social Welfare Studies at the Ministry of Labor in July of the current year with those of Majid Movafegh Qadiri from 2016. The result is a disconcerting revelation: the percentage of the population grappling with malnutrition has surged by 27% over the last seven years.

Qadiri’s claim in 2016 that 30% of Iran’s population faces malnutrition seems severe. However, this statement pales in comparison to Hadi Mousavinik’s warning in July this year, who said an alarming 57% of Iran’s population suffers from malnutrition and doesn’t meet basic caloric requirements.

This statistic underscores a 27% increase in the malnourished population within Iran. Mousavinik highlights the World Bank’s benchmark of 2,100 kilocalories as the minimum daily calorie requirement. Shockingly, over half of Iran’s population falls short of this essential threshold.

The relentless surge in food prices, coupled with diminishing purchasing power and increased housing and health costs, has coerced Iranian households into a disconcerting reality. In the face of mounting inflation, families are cutting back on essential items like dairy and protein-rich foods, inevitably triggering a malnutrition crisis.

On July 9, the regime’s Ministry of Health revealed research showing that around 47% of women over 50 in Iran suffer from low bone density, attributed to insufficient dairy consumption and decreased calcium intake. This distressing revelation aligns with statements made by Mohammad Reza Banitaba the spokesperson of Iran’s Dairy Products Industry Association earlier in the year.

Official health statistics shed light on the magnitude of the crisis, indicating that nearly 16% of children under six in Iran suffer from severe malnutrition. Furthermore, 800,000 growing children face an alarming lack of protein consumption.

Banitaba, in an ISNA interview, contrasts global and Iranian milk consumption. He notes that global per capita milk consumption averages 150-160 liters per year, reaching 200 liters in America and France, and an impressive 300 liters in Northern Europe. Comparatively, Iran’s per capita dairy consumption, in the best-case scenario, hovers around a mere 70 liters.

Banitaba underscores the connection between surging dairy prices and its exclusion from the basket of essential goods available to society’s most vulnerable, highlighting how inflation is intruding on the well-being of the population.

The impact of inflation extends beyond dairy. Meat and chicken consumption has also plummeted in the last two years, with Afshin Sadr Dadres, CEO of the Central Light Livestock Union, noting a staggering 50% drop in per capita meat consumption over this period.

While official statistics unequivocally highlight the mounting pressure caused by inflation, the regime’s economic authorities strive to quash concerns regarding malnutrition’s grip on society by curbing the publication of official data.

Experts, however, view the successive inflationary shocks and rapid food price hikes over the past two years as the main catalysts behind the decline in per capita calorie consumption for nearly half the population. The repercussions of increased prices for meat, chicken, fish, dairy, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are projected to extend beyond the short term, affecting the nation’s health for years to come.

The past year under Ebrahim Raisi’s government witnessed unprecedented inflation in Iran, largely attributed to the elimination of subsidies for basic goods. This, despite the fact that food prices had been spiraling for years before Raisi took office, disproportionately affecting the more vulnerable sections of society.