These days, the Iranian people’s main concern is how to feed their families, and this puzzle is getting more complicated in the days that led up to Nowruz, the new year in the Persian calendar. In such circumstances, the government rubs insult on people’s wounds with its mismanagement and economic failures rather than easing financial pressure.
“This is Iran’s situation. An uprising by the army of the hungry in Iran started from Sistan and Baluchestan. I wish the criminal [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the State Security Force (SSF), and all of their folk go to the hell soon,” said a citizen as he filmed a woman who was searching a garbage bin for food.
Pointing to the woman, he said, “All of the people of Iran are living in the same condition. Many people are looking in garbage bins for some usable stuff. God damn these officials. They will destroy us one by one if we do not unite. We must overthrow the Islamic Republic. We are all Baluchi protesters. All of Iran’s provinces are Sistan and Baluchestan. Death to Khamenei.”
This is a small part of Iran’s society. There are thousands of children who had forgotten their childhood in the tarmac of metros and streets. They have no memory except hardship and poverty.
Their families’ dire economic conditions have turned them into little breadwinners. Furthermore, the population of labor children is growing in Iran each month. On the other hand, they are exposed to exploitation by a government-backed mafia, and in many cases, they do not even receive their meager salaries. In this regard, many children are convinced that kissing their short lives goodbye is better than enduring more dilemmas.
Meanwhile, many Iranians, particularly working and low-income families, wrestle with poor nutrition. Already, the semiofficial ISNA news agency revealed that almost all working families face financial difficulties. “More than 90 percent of workers do not have job security and live below the poverty line,” ISNA quoted the deputy chief of Labor Association in West Azarbaijan province as saying on February 7.
According to official statistics, the poverty line has reached 100 to 130 million rials [$400-520] per month for a family of four. The government monthly pays 450,000 rials [$1.80] as subsidies to around 60 million citizens. In other words, each family of four receives $7.20, which covers a little more than a half of its expenses for just one day.
In such circumstances, Iranian citizens have to fight the coronavirus crisis and endure additional costs of health and hygienic measures. However, Covid-19 damages are not limited to losing health and lives.
Financial disadvantages are the flip side of this health disaster, which has created dire conditions for millions of Iranian families. At least 600,000 workers have lost their careers and have been added to the great army of unemployed people.
All these facts prove the establishment’s imprudence in managing the country’s catastrophes. Ongoing protests in various cities show the public distrust in the theocracy and their desire for a better future.