On October 1, the Iranian people were once again aback by President Hassan Rouhani’s provocative comments. He blamed citizens and physicians for the shortage of food and medication. Rouhani claimed that people waste 40 percent of foodstuffs. This is while most of society lives below the poverty line. Moreover, many citizens have been compelled to sell their body organs or search garbage bins for some food to remain alive. He also claimed the people purchase additional medications.
https://t.co/y13MYUI4Gj reported it costs at least 50M rials (~$220) to treat a #coronavirus patient.
Head of Majlis Health Commission announced the cost reach between 150-450M rials (~$660-1990).
Many people can't purchase face masks but Rouhani had said:pic.twitter.com/zmJorpzY35
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) August 8, 2020
“We do not consume wisely and sometimes [physicians] wrote additional medications in prescriptions. Sometimes, people purchase additional medications. Medications usually remain in homes and are not used. [Citizens] do not pay adequate attention. Therefore, misuse both in foodstuffs and medications is much harmful and we should optimize the consumption in the country,” Rouhani’s said at the National Covid-19 Task Force meeting on October 1, broadcasted by the state-run Channel Six TV network.
“According to a report, 40 percent of our foodstuffs was wasted in the past few days due to misuse, imprecise production, or because we do not have proper production chains for alternate industries. This is a very important issue. Now, these stats say it is 40 percent; however, even if it were 20 percent or 10 percent, it would still be high,” Rouhani added.
Rouhani’s claims come while, according to official statistics, 60 million Iranians are eligible to receive supportive subsidies. On the other hand, Iran’s economy under the ayatollahs’ rule has been pushed to a point of no return. Rouhani and his predecessors—whether “reformists” or “conservatives”—practically pushed the country’s financial system to the brink of collapse.
For 41 years, systematic corruption, high inflation, recession, embezzlement, and a bureaucratic system that is based on bribes and nepotism have significantly deteriorated the country’s economy. Under Rouhani’s lame-duck administration, the national currency’s value has drastically dropped, and the poverty line has reached 100 million rials [$333] per month.
Many families do not eat red meat, chicken, and fish for months, and working-class families feed their children with some bread and boiled potatoes—and this, of course, is those who have not lost their jobs so far. According to Iranian media, over 600,000 employees and workers have lost their jobs, which means 600,000 breadwinners have no more revenue.
Furthermore, not a day goes by without news about the rise in prices of essential goods. In recent months, Iranians have witnessed a considerable increase in prices of bread, rice, cheese, red meat, chicken, eggs, and other foodstuffs. This unprecedented increase originates from the gasoline price hikes in November 2019, which had a ripple effect on other prices.
Meanwhile, the authorities’ mismanagement in containing the coronavirus outbreak has added insult to the people’s injuries. Now, the citizens must spend their meager salaries on curing themselves or their loved ones. And if they haven’t contracted the virus, they must spend heavily on preemptive items. Long lines that occasionally extend kilometers clearly reject Rouhani’s baseless claims.
However, to discover Rouhani’s goal through these contradictory remarks, we should consider the Iranian government’s current situation. The ayatollahs have emptied Iran’s coffers to pay for costly foreign policies and squander billions of dollars on their nuclear program, ballistic missiles, and regional interference projects. International sanctions and banking restrictions have dried their illicit lifelines to fund their proxies and lobbies.
In such circumstances, Rouhani would like to offset his administration’s budget deficit and finance the government’s foreign policies by applying more pressure on the citizens. His remarks are the prolog for raising the prices and collecting the people’s essential goods from markets. One might ask, why a should president implement some odd act, particularly while he is in the last year of his presidency? Needless to say that, since the people didn’t elect him in the first place, he would not care about the people’s hardships and troubles. In contrast, the Iranian people have also shown that they no longer trust neither “moderates” nor “principalists” and they see their country’s rescue through the toppling of the entire ruling system.