While majority of the Iranian people are facing acute food scarcity with hundreds and thousands in starvation, Sadif Beikzadeh, Director General of mullah regime’s Office of Commerce, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade said, some food items are being exported by Iran.
It may be mentioned here that, Iranian are suffering from acute scarcity of basic food items such as cooking oil and poultry. But, influential officials and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard are busy in smuggling out such items to neighboring countries thus pushing Iranians into deeper crisis.
Justifying the ongoing smuggling of basic food items outside Iran, Sadif Beikzadeh told ILNA News Agency: In the free market, the exchange rate is five times the government exchange rate (4,200 tomans) which is allocated to these basic foods. This means that the domestic price of these items is around one fifth of the price outside the border and under these conditions, the tendency to smuggle these items increases.
The official exchange rate of US Dollar in Iran is 4,200 tomans, while in the black market, it is exchanged at 24,680 tomans.
In January this year, Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh, an Iranian MP said that the difference between official and black-market exchange rate of US Dollar is the “main factor behind economic corruption and abuse” in the country.
Every week, the queue for government subsidized poultry, cooking oil and bread are becoming longer in several cities in Iran. It is also alleged that girls and females are lured by officials and Revolutionary Guard members into sex in exchange for getting priority supply of the government subsidized edible items.
Due to troubled economy, especially following Donald Trump’s imposing sanctions on Iran, purchasing capacity of the people are being decreasing at al alarming level. On March 13, 2021, Ghasemali Hassani, the Secretary of Tehran’s Food Wholesaler’s Union told ILNA news agency that the purchasing power of Iranians had decreased since their wages have not been raised in accordance with the inflation. This has happened because of Donald Trump’s punitive sanctions on Iran for its dangerous ambition of producing nuclear bombs.
Hassani said: It does not feel like Nowruz in the bazaar. The demand for food items has decreased sharply. There is 35% less demand than last year. This is due to the decrease of the purchasing power of Iranians.
Sohrab Bakhtiyar, an Iranian economist wrote in a state-run website that in 2020, 40 percent of Iranians lived under the poverty line, while in 2021, nearly 70 percent are living under the poverty line, and 60 percent are deprived classes. According to him, one in every five persons are living above the poverty line.
In September 2020, Ibrahim Razaghi, another economist in Iran said there were 30 million unemployed people and 60 million Iranians were living below the poverty line. He said, the reason behind the sharp increase in prices was the “government’s lack of supervision over the economy” and that the regime had “practically abandoned the economy”.
During the past three years, Iran has experienced economic growth of negative 5 percent and inflation above 30 percent, which is the highest and longest inflationary recession in the economic history of Iran. And it had happened due to Donald Trump’s tougher sanctions.
In November 2020, the Statistical Center of Iran in a report said, Iranians were not able to buy basic groceries. Average Iranians eat 52 percent red meat, while those with lower incomes eat 65 percent less red meat compared to the previous year. Iranians also are eating 34 percent less rice, which is country’s staple food.
Lack of economic stability, dual exchange rate, inflation and recession, lack of a clear picture of the current state of the economy have led to public discontent. Most Iranians no longer trust regime leaders and hold daily protests to express their economic grievances.