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Half of Iranians live in absolute poverty

ILNA, Ministry of Industry, Iran, Tomans

World

Half of Iranians live in absolute poverty

State-run media have reported an increase in the price of basic food items including sugar, cooking oil and bread. According to official figures published in October, half of Iran’s population live in absolute poverty.

On May 16, the state-run ILNA wrote 1kg packages of sugar sold at 8,700 tomans were now 15,000 tomans, 1.7 times the initial price.

An informed source in the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade told ILNA that cooking oil prices would also increase.

“Over 95% of unrefined oil is imported. The international price has increased, and we haven’t changed our prices since August 2020,” the source said.

He added that soya and palm oil prices would increase from 5,500 tomans to 7,500 tomans and that the price of sunflower oil would increase from 6,000 tomans to 9,000 tomans.

In another report published on May 11, the state-run ILNA News Agency said bread prices in Tehran and other cities had increased by up to 50%.

According to the report, some bakeries were selling bread at 50% higher than approved prices. The report said the official price of bread would also increase in the coming weeks.

A labor activist told ILNA that many bakery workers were opposed to the increase of bread prices, even though the increase would benefit their salaries.

“This is because with the increase of bread prices, other basic products would also become more expensive,” the activist said.

In the past months, there were reports of Iranians buying bread in installments. According to the report by Tejarat News website bakers were keeping books to record bread loans they gave to their customers. Some bakers confiscated the customer’s national ID card until the debt was paid, while others just wrote the names of the customers and the amount of loaned bread.

In February 2021, a representative of an Iranian state-affiliated labor union said workers could not afford meat, rice, and legumes even if their wages were increased 100-fold.

“The price of meat, rice and legumes have increased in the past year in such a way that workers cannot afford any of them,” Hadi Abavi, the Head of the Workers’ Supreme Trade Union Association told the state-run Tasnim News Agency on February 9.

“If you double the current 2.7 million toman ($116) wages it won’t cover workers’ expenses,” Abavi said.

In a report published in November 2020, official figures showed Iranian families were spending 46% more on the same products and services compared to last year. The report, published by the Statistical Center of Iran also said the country’s year on year inflation had reached 4.46%. This means urban families spent 45% more while rural families spent 50% more on products and services compared to last year.

The report published by the Statistical Center of Iran also said Iranians were not able to buy basic groceries. Average Iranians eat 52% less red meat, while those with lower incomes eat 65% less red meat compared to last year, the report said.  Iranians are also eating 34% less rice, the country’s staple food.

Absolute poverty

According to official figures published in October, half of Iran’s population live in absolute poverty.

The current poverty line in Iran is 10 million tomans (around $430), while the absolute poverty line is 6.8 million tomans (around $293), which puts 50% of the Iranian population under the line of “absolute poverty”.

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