Even Iran’s state-run media are warning of possible protests now, given the horrific state of the economy because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the mullahs’ mismanagement.
On Tuesday, the state-run Sharq daily warned of protests over rising coronavirus infections caused by the regime’s dire policies.
The article quoted former Health Minister Mostafa Moin, who said: “The coronavirus outbreak, regional threats, and concerns about borders and national security have so far been a cover to [oppress] demands and protests. The weight of the pressure of inflation and high prices, unemployment, and livelihood problems are on the shoulders of the patient people. The inefficiency and accountability of the new government and parliament in these circumstances will prepare the grounds for protests.”
While the same day, the Aftab-e Yazd daily wrote that “unprecedented mistrust” in authorities was the main cause for growing anti-regime sentiment, not just the economic issues, and if this was not solved then the entire ruling system would be under threat.
The regime’s method of preventing this is through brutal repression, but this is making the situation worse.
The Etemad daily said: “Creating an atmosphere of repression by using security processes, in the long run, creates frustration and dissatisfaction among the population and causes people to become demotivated. This issue causes leads to anomie or abnormality among our people and such a society will lead to severe violations.”
Of course, that’s not to say that the economy is not a real problem for Iranians because it is.
The state-run Arman daily said: “In Iran, the poverty line is about 10 million rials [$333.33]. It is estimated that about two million people are losing their jobs and one million social security workers have lost their jobs. 70 percent of workers are below the poverty line and their job security is declining.”
Recently, there was the case of an 11-year-old boy who died from suicide because his family was so poor that they could not afford the basics, which included an internet-connected phone to allow him to participate in online classes during the pandemic.
The Education Ministry did nothing to help; instead choosing to prosecute a teacher for drawing a cartoon. (It’s a different case entirely but it shows you the priorities of the regime.)
To be completely clear, the regime could have protected people’s jobs during the pandemic with some sort of job retention scheme at the very least. They could afford to supply every student with a smartphone. They could afford to take all Iranians out of poverty, but they don’t.
There are billions of dollars in foundations controlled by the supreme leader that is supposed to help the poor, so why hasn’t the regime used them?