The growth of street peddlers in the past decade in Iran has turned into a social problem in many of Iran’s provinces.
The high numbers are the result of the closure of factories, the absence of stable jobs, unemployment, and the collapse of Iran’s domestic production.
According to state media, there are just 300,000 street vendors in the capital, Tehran.
Street vendors are people suffering from poverty who was unable to find work and are forced to make ends meet by selling goods on the streets.
Street vending and slum-dwelling are two obvious effects of poverty and unemployment which can be seen in Iran’s large and small cities.
The lack of jobs coupled with growing poverty during the 40-year rule of the Islamic Republic and specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s hold on Iran’s economy are some of the factors that have led to the growth of street peddling in Iran.
Street peddling as a second job
The wide range of street peddlers’ social classes is another indication of the growth of this problem and how various social classes have been forced to enter this line of work.
Reports indicate that some street vendors are university graduates and have taken this line of work due to the lack of other suitable employment.
Many government employees, especially teachers have also turned to street vending to make ends meet.
Many others who are currently employed in other jobs have taken to selling goods on the streets as a second job due to the spread of poverty.
Until some years ago in Iran, the very existence of women in the labor market was considered unusual. Due to Iran’s traditional and religious climate, some jobs including street vending were considered inappropriate for women.
However, nowadays, seeing young women and girls selling goods on the street, or cleaning car windows and polishing shoes on the metro has turned into an almost usual sight in Iran’s cities.
Street peddling in numbers
In the summer of 2018, the head of Iran’s Chamber of Guilds, Ali Fazeli, said that there were one million street vendors in Iran.
In March 2018, the head of the Shahrban Company affiliated with the Tehran Municipality, Abolqasem Chizari, said that there were 30,000 peddlers in Tehran and that the number had increased by 94.50% compared to the previous year.
On February 16, 2018, Iran’s Interior Minister said that at least 11 million people lived in Iran’s slums, of whom 3 million lived on the fringes of Tehran, the northeastern province of Mashhad and the southwestern province of Ahvaz.