During an Iranian Parliament (Majlis) public session on May 8, Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi, an MP from Torbat-e-Jam county in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, said, “How should the people cover their expenses? Brothers, sisters, the representatives of the noble nation of Iran, where is the nation? What remains of the nation?”
He questioned those in attendance, asking, “Do you hear anything from the people but cursing and hateful remarks at your jurisdictions these days? The government can’t run the country, and the Parliament [Majlis] as the legislative body should intervene, not talk!”
He further added, “At the beginning of 11th Majlis, I gave a speech and emphasized that neither the Majlis nor the government, whether prudent, imprudent, revolutionary, invoked, reformist, or principlist, can compete for the fraudulent mafia, which sells Chinese cars three times the price of neighboring counties! This mafia is in the subsidies’ sector alike.”
The MP also reminded those present about the country’s dire economic conditions and society’s readiness to launch further protests. He also highlighted the depreciation of the Iranian national currency, the rial, against the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies.
Jahanabadi questioned, “How many years have the people’s subsidies remained at 450,000 rials?” noting that the rial value has significantly decreased in recent years. In 2009, 450,000 rials were worth $45, but just 13 years later, the same amount is only worth around $1.60.
Despite Iran’s crippling and skyrocketing inflation, the Iranian regime has yet to increase the Iranian people’s meager subsidies to support them in this time of great hardship.
“Which item’s price remained stable while people’s subsidies depreciated? Assuming that you pay flour subsidies, how would you compensate for the subsidies of other price hikes?” the MP also asked.
The People Have Nothing; the Government Is Incapable
Another topic mentioned during Jahanabadi’s speech dealt with the regime’s plundering schemes through the country’s auto-manufacturing industry. He said, “The [Majlis] should ask why a car is sold to people at four to five times the price of neighboring countries?”
He also asked, “Why does [the government] deprive people of flour, the most basic item in food baskets, under the pretext of smuggling and war in Ukraine? [Our people] used to envy other nations’ homes, cars, and decent lives. And now our people envy their bread.”
The MP also blamed officials for depreciating the national currency against foreign currencies in recent years. “Iraq was occupied, Afghanistan was occupied; check what percentage their national currency depreciated?” Jahanabadi questioned, slamming the Majlis’s indifference towards the Iranian people and their struggles, “Why have you entertained yourself and forgotten the country’s most essential dilemmas?”
The Government Caused People’s Concerns, Says Speaker Ghalibaf
Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf criticized President Ebrahim Raisi’s government while under severe pressure due to his family’s scandal, known as Sismouni-gate. “Regarding the recent high prices, particularly increasing the macaroni price, [the government] ignored Majlis’s law, which resulted in such a negative atmosphere and disappointed the people.”
Ghalibaf added, “People are concerned that recent high prices would be a start to increase the prices of essential goods, which people’s food baskets depended on. The root of people’s concerns goes back to [removing subsidized foreign exchanges] for importing essential cargoes, which significantly increased the price of other relevant items. The government’s performance in macaroni and industrial flour issues amplified people’s concerns.”
#IranProtests#ChaharMahalAndBakhtiari, SW #Iran—security forces shoot at protesters' heads and eyes in #Shahrekord. Plainclothes try to seize defiant youths, but they escape.
The world must not remain silent against mullahs' atrocities.@Mike_Pence, @mikepompeo, @RichardGrenell pic.twitter.com/e4gFQn90VP
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) May 16, 2022
End the Bread Story, Says MP from Abadan
On May 8, Mojtaba Mahfouzi, an MP from Abadan, publicly stated, “End the bread story, and just like in the past, leave the bread for the people, preventing it from being in the grips of the ice-cream-lover children of officials and macaroni hoarders.” He also warned of the revival of public protests against the regime, similar to the uprising after the fuel price hike in November 2019.
He directed his speech at Raisi, asking, “Mr. President, do you remember? You started the fuel crisis in 2019 when you were the judiciary chief and one of the heads of powers?”
In recent years, the regime’s propaganda campaign painted a false image of Raisi as the savior of the underprivileged. However, this so-called ‘savior’ has increased the price of wheat and bread, an essential item in the food baskets of the Iranian people, who are falling deeper into poverty day by day. Raisi has yet to provide any explanation for his decisions and instead has vehemently denied the news stories that have come to light about the crises.
Mahfouzi also asked, “Can you order your national and provincial officials to explain to the people why the situation is the way it is? Your administration refuses to offer any explanation to the people or even your superiors—read Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Why do you make promises that you cannot keep?”
He added, “The [Raisi] government’s economic team needs review and surgery. I repeat, revise, revise, revise, change, change. Some of your directors reckon that the wheat price increased based on the same theory that increased the gas price. The same burned theory of ‘smuggling.’ Do low-income classes manage harbors, docks, border, naval, aviation, and ground customs or ice-cream-lover children of officials?”
In remarks posted on the Jamaran website on May 8, Behrouz Mohebbi Najmabadi, an MP from Khorasan Razavi, stated, “A calculated surgery is inevitable and necessary. We refuse any decision that intensifies pressure on people.”
Expressing his concerns over the public outrage and nationwide protests, the MP added, “Meat, cooking oil, bread, and macaroni are among the essential items of people’s food baskets, which should not be harmed. Therefore, I warn the Vice President that he should coordinate his decision with the Majlis and convince public opinions.”
However, in an interview with the state-run TV on May 11, Raisi’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi declared that the prices of cooking oil, egg, and chicken would be increasing. Following Vahidi’s announcement, thousands of impoverished citizens rushed to shopping centers to purchase essential items before the stores ran out of stock.
This announcement also ignited a new series of nationwide protests against the government’s mismanagement and corruption. Observers of the situation stated, “The regime continues its terrorism, nuclear extortion, regional ambitions, and steps up oppressive apparatuses at the needy citizens’ expense.”
In response to the regime’s policies, thousands of people flooded onto the streets across Iran, particularly in the southwestern provinces of Khuzestan, Chahar Mahal & Bakhtiari, and Kohgiluyeh & Boyer-Ahmad. The regime reacted with brute force to quell the people’s rightful demands, using live ammunition and killing at least five protesters.
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) May 15, 2022
The Iranian people, who have nothing to lose, see these protests as the only method to assist them in obtaining their plundered rights. As a result, the protests have continued and extended to other cities, including the capital Tehran, reminding the regime of the nationwide protests of January 2018 and November 2019.
Outraged citizens across the country chanted several slogans, which included: “Death to Khamenei,” “Death to Raisi,” “The mullahs must get lost,” “We are all together,” “Where is free water and electricity?”; and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life is for Iran.”