According to the state-run Serat news agency, “In North Khorasan, the chicken price rose from 129,000 rials [63 cents] to 190,000 [93 cents] per kilogram in a steep incline.”
As a known technique, Iranian authorities used to primarily increase prices of essential supplies in a limited region then expand new price policy to all the country’s provinces. After the nationwide protests in November, which ignited gasoline price hikes, officials decided to raise the prices gradually to deter another round of protests.
In this respect, they progressively increased the price of bread, electricity, egg, rice, and recently the price of chicken in North Khorasan to measure the public reaction. The mullahs are redoubling economic pressures on society while the people are simultaneously grappling with the impact of the novel coronavirus.
For instance, two months ago, locals reported that the regime had increased the price of flour in Tabriz city, East Azarbaijan, a fact that was immediately denied by the administration’s spokesperson Ali Rabiei.
However, in an SMS on April 20, citizens were suddenly informed that “prices of different kinds of bread have risen 39-50 percent.”
“The price of flour has increased from 17,000 to 28,000 rials [11 to 18 cents] per kilo, and they have no choice but to raise prices of bread,” bakers in Tabriz said in April. In this respect, the government-linked apparatuses are increasing flour prices, pushing Bakers’ Union to raise bread prices.
However, on June 14’s cabinet session, President Hassan Rouhani ironically claimed, “Careful monitoring and timely action against rising prices are the serious tasks of all officials, producers, guilds, and sellers, and negligence in this regard is not acceptable whatsoever.”
Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF), reported, “Dramatic increase in the price of chicken is not a new issue in North Khorasan. However, chicken prices have never before reached above 150,000 rials [74 cents] per kilogram. Poultry farmers say, ‘Aviculture and maintenance of chickens are not profitable at all.’”
Rezaei, one of the poultry farmers in Bojnourd, the center of North Khorasan, counted several reasons for the chicken’s high price in recent days. “The price of soybeans has risen from 27,600 to 70,000 rials [13 to 34 cents] per kilogram in the open market, and this issue and other livestock feed have become a serious problem for poultry farmers,” Rezaei said.
“Concentrate prices have risen from 100,000 to 190,000 rials [49 to 93 cents]. Also, corn has risen from 17,600 to 25,000 rials [86 cents to $1.23], and incubation in poultry farms has declined sharply,” he added.
On the other hand, on June 23, the economic deputy of Governor Mahmoud Ghanbari claimed, “Currently, we are witnessing an increase in the price of chicken only in this province. It is the provincial authorities’ duty to take the necessary measures to provide enough chicken and prevent the arbitrary increase in the price of chicken.”
Moreover, Seyyed Javad Seyyed al-Mousavi, director-general of sentences implementation office, said that no seller can increase the declared price. “Everyone should respect the legal benefit,” he added.
However, he claimed, “At present, monitoring chicken prices is on our agenda. However, no report of violations has been received so far. If the people reported, we would consider cases as soon as possible.”
Remarkably, in April, poultry farmers were forced to eliminate over 16 million chicks within a few days, which caused outrage across the country. Officials vowed to investigate the issue. However, they have done nothing so far, and they’re making promises to ease public ire. Furthermore, state-run media exposed that the Martyr Foundation has monopolized 85 percent of the chick market. This financial institution is considered one of the significant pillars of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s economic empire. In this respect, the investigation was frozen, and such as many other crimes under the clerical regime’s tenure, no one stood trial.
In conclusion, Iranian authorities attempt to compensate for the country’s massive budget deficits at the expense of poor and underprivileged citizens. They widen poverty and push many more segments of the society below the poverty line. At the same time, they insist on their costly foreign policies and aggressive behavior in the Middle East and across the globe. However, the mullahs should know that “they reap what they sow” soon. As has been proven in the past few years, the people will only tolerate the regime’s corrupt policies so much, and as public rage builds up, it will eventually transform into protests and uprisings.