A state economic analyst in Iran stated that more protests were imminent if fundamental economic change was not made. Hossein Raghfar said in an interview with the state-run news Sharq Daily, “Many of those in important decision-making positions comprehend the sensitive circumstances and know that it is not possible to continue like this. But in order to prevent convulsions (as we had before), we need fundamental change.”
“If we do not answer to the demands of the day, of the society and the people, we should expect tougher, costlier consequences and a more ambiguous future… This knowledge may have been acquired in the country’s decision-making circles, but widespread corruption is the main obstacle to reform,” he added.
Raghfar said medicine imported into Iran to treat the ill was being sold in shops in Tehran’s Nasser Khosro Street for more than ten times the price. “This disturbs the people’s mental, psychological, physical and economic security,” he added.
New official figures show that Iranian families are spending 46% more on the same products and services compared to last year. According to the state-run Borna News Agency, a report published by the Statistical Center of Iran on November 21 shows the country’s year on year inflation has reached 4.46%. This means urban families spent 45% more while rural families spent 50% more on products and services compared to last year.
Hossein Raghfar implied that the Organization in Support of Consumers was corrupt.
“What we see today is an organization called the Organization in Support of Consumers, but it is a governmental body that only safeguards the interests of the importers, not that of the people,” said Raghfar adding that Iranians were deprived of post-purchase services for imported goods.
The economist also criticized the regime’s privatization policies.
“Why is education being privatized? Some who used to protest are now politicians and making profit off of privatization.”
According to official figures published in October, half of Iran’s population live in absolute poverty. 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.
The current poverty line in Iran is 10 million tomans (around $385), while the absolute poverty line is 6.8 million tomans (around $262), which puts 50% of the Iranian population under the line of “absolute poverty”.