A Look at Poverty and Hunger in Iran on the Day for the Eradication of Poverty –
By The Free Iranian Staff
October 16th has been declared World Food Day, and October 17th the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, by the United Nations. On these days, it is fitting to take a look at poverty and malnutrition in Iran, a country which, despite its oil wealth, has been so grievously misgoverned by the Khomeinist regime that, a majority of Iranians now live in deprivation.
According to the regime’s own statistics, which are certainly underestimated, five million Iranians, or 6% of the total population of Iran, are malnourished. The health consequences of this are that six million Iranians have osteoporosis, 40% of children under three years of age are anaemic, 11% of children under five are underweight, and 15% of children have had their growth stunted due to being undernourished.
A more detailed survey published in May revealed that 2.7% of Iranians are unable to afford meat at all, 32.9% eat meat only once a week, 23.4% once a month, and 14.2% only once a year.
On April 7th of this year, Hossein Raghfar, an Iranian economist, had published a study stating that 33% of Iranians live in poverty (calculated as a family of four earning less than $400 a month). In 2017, that number was 16%, but by the next year it had risen to somewhere between 23% and 40% as a result of inflation and the rise in the costs of living.
Last month, another study revealed that in order to maintain a minimal standard of health and nutrition, an Iranian worker needs to earn at least $500 a month. Yet, earlier this year, the regime set the minimum wage to $170 a month, claiming that this would lift half of Iran’s working poor out of poverty. Just going by their own statistics, however, poverty has increased by 20% in just the past six months.
Other estimates of poverty and hunger in Iran go much higher. Last year, a member of the Islamic Parliament (Majles) declared that 80% of Iranians were living on the equivalent to or less than $2 a day. Another estimate had “only” 50% of Iranians living in poverty. In December 2017 , a survey in Khuzestan, Iran’s richest province due to its oil fields, revealed that one out of every three households was undernourished.
Describing the realities of life in today’s Iran, Mohammad Reza Za’eri wrote in the newspaper “Khorasan” on October 10th that, “These days, the people’s financial situations are very difficult, and the living conditions of ordinary people have reached the worst possible level. The middle class has never been in so disastrous a financial situation. The betrayal and abuse of power by officials has created bitter feelings among the general public. When a poor man sees his swollen belly with his own eyes, when he can no longer afford to support his wife or pay for his children’s school tuition, he can no longer bear to live.”