Ali Rabii, the Minister of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare of Iran’s previous government, in 2018 informed about the formation of the center called “Poverty Monitoring” to fight the poverty in the country. At that time, he said:
“We need to make a difference in the lives of the poor, much of the population of the country who were on the edge of falling into the lap of absolute poverty, through planning and supportive policies, we have changed the lives of these people in every possible way.” (ILNA, January 10, 2018)
The question here is, how is such a claim even possible when according to the regime’s officials and state media, more than 30 million people live under the absolute poverty line?
The Social Deputy of the same ministry said that in 2020, some 26 million people lived under the poverty line, which is now not decreasing because the poverty line index has reached 1.254 million tomans which is a fall of 38 percent compared to the previous years.
A little later, Morteza Bakhtiari, who is now the head of the regime’s Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation and is famous for his human rights abuses and who has been sanctioned by the European Union and the Treasury of the United Kingdom in 2011, revealed the reality about poverty in Iran and said:
“Unfortunately, today we see that economic shocks have caused a lot of losses in the weaker strata of society and on the other hand, some people have gained windfall wealth by exploiting the conditions.” (ILNA, November 28, 2020)
Then on August 22, 2021, the regime’s Ministry of Labor who is the custodian of the “Poverty Monitoring” in a report which is called the “first official report about the poverty line in Iran” about the report near to the reality of the spread of poverty in Iran and wrote:
“Some 26,500.000 people were below the poverty line in 2019, and that number appears to be even higher in 2020 than in 2019.”
This report added that the monetary border of poverty for everyone in Iran has reached 1.254 million Tomans. This means that for a family of four it is about four million Tomans. The conclusion is that in 2019 the “Poverty rate” was equivalent to 32 percent and about one-third of the people were below the poverty line. In other words, one of three of every Iranian is extremely poor struggling to stay alive.
Now Bakhtiari once again came to the stage and stated:
“The poverty line has risen from 950,000 tomans in 2011 to 10 million tomans in 2019. Estimates show that during the period 2001-2019, about 33 percent of Iran’s population was below the multidimensional poverty line.” (ISNA, August 15, 2021)
Masoud Khansari, an official in the chamber of commerce, acknowledged that Iran has gained first place in the depreciation of money and that the population below the poverty line in Iran has reached 30 percent.
A real indicator of the situation of poverty in Iran is the expenses of food and basic commodities. That means how much must a family spend for it from its income. In 2018 the family’s spending on foods and other basic commodities from its income increased from 22.1 percent to 23.4 percent which is a clear sign of the decrease of the people’s welfare.
This is even worse in some deprived areas of Iran such as the Sistan and Baluchestan province:
“Among the 20 deprived cities of Iran, 11 cities are located in Sistan and Baluchestan province and three cities of Kerman province are among the 20 deprived cities.” (Stater-run website Ana, August 23, 2021)
Now if we consider the inflation rate of about 50 percent which is announced by many state media outlets, we will see an increase in poverty in the country and not a decrease as Ali Rabii claimed with the founding of the “Poverty Monitoring”.