A senior Iranian cleric and so called Shia marja said that Iranians were overweight and should eat less in comments that were seemingly made to overshadow the economic woes of ordinary Iranians.
“It was heard on the news that one fourth of Iranians are overweight. This is because of excess food and (people) should eat less,” Naser Makarem Shirazi said in comments carried by the Revolutionary Guards affiliated Tasnim news agency.
It is not clear where he got those statistics from as the most important issue Iranians are facing is not being able to afford their basic needs.
The “Grand Ayatollah” Makarem Shirazi also said Iranians should eat more vegetables and less meat to maintain their health.
Iran is currently facing a “meat crisis” with soaring red meat prices.
A Friday prayer leader in Hormozgan recently told Iran’s President Rouhani in a meeting in the southern province that Iranians could only “dream” of eating red meat.
Videos on social media and reports on state-run media show kilometer long lines of people waiting to buy imported frozen meat with government subsidies.
Many Iranians have posted videos of the subsidized meat on social media complaining that its “bad meat” from “sick livestock”.
Iranian media also reported that one fourth of Tehran’s restaurants had closed down because people could not afford their menus with reports on social media that restaurants had resorted to adding “stews without meat” (khoresh without meat) to their menus to attract customers who could not afford meat.
Makarem Shirazi also cited Nowruz celebrations, the most important holiday in which Iranians celebrate the New Year in late March.
He said that Iranians should spend less on Nowruz and instead help impoverished families.
It seems that the old cleric’s whole speech on “health” was orchestrated around normalizing the fact that due to government policies, billions spent on proxy wars and systematic government corruption, 80% of Iranians lived under the line of poverty.