For over four decades, Iranian officials have resorted to deceitful methods and fabricated statistics to downplay their economic failures. They have frequently bragged about their financial accomplishments while most of Iran’s population live below the poverty line.
However, the ayatollahs still raise odd figures despite definite facts and evidence. “Experts affiliated with the World Bank say, ‘Iran’s economy is among top economies across the globe and stands at 18th rank,’” said the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on March 21 on the occasion of the Persian new year.
This is while many people suffer from poor nutrition, according to official sources. The government’s economic failures and bankruptcy have diminished Iran’s middle-class families and driven them to misery. Many citizens have to search garbage bins for something to eat.
Such circumstances have prompted public ire against the entire political system. “God damn Khamenei and [the Islamic Republic founder Ruhollah] Khomeini. At the midnight, the people have to rummage in garbage bins for some breadcrumbs,” said a citizen.
On the other hand, not only does the government provide no aid for the people but also adds insult to their injuries by its oppressive and plundering plans. For instance, municipalities commonly harass vendors and even shopkeepers on bogus charges.
“Yesterday, I saw municipal agents had spread a shopkeeper’s seeds and nuts on the floor… I am 24 years old and have nothing for Nowruz expenditures… Damn officials for what they have done to our youths and younghood,” said another citizen.
However, high-ranking officials boast of their ‘financial achievements .’ On March 24, President Hassan Rouhani once again spoke about his government’s contributions. “We offered many loans to ordinary people in the past Persian year. We paid one million rials [$4.00] to each citizen every month,” said Rouhani.
This is while the official statistic centers had estimated the poverty line at between 100-130 million rials [$400-520] for a family of four. In other words, Rouhani’s administration gave only $16 to each family of four, which covers their expense for a single day of the month in the best-case scenario.
Surprisingly, in March 2020, Rouhani had claimed that “we aren’t among those countries whose COVID19 patients are lying on pavements and floor of hospitals. Thank God, we are not among those countries whose death toll is too high and those who transfer their dead with freezer trucks.”
At the time, the official death toll declared by the Health Ministry was 2,900 while according to the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), more than 14,700 people had lost their lives to the novel coronavirus until the end of March 2020. The MEK had provided the number through reports obtained by its domestic networks in 237 cities across the country.
Iranian officials, however, time and again address sanctions and isolation as the main economic dilemma. Despite officials’ disastrous performance which had led the international community to punish the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism, systematic corruption and non-standard decisions are the main obstacle for Iran’s economy.
“Even if there were no sanctions, the flawed and anti-productive structure had been driving the country to collapse,” said a government-backed economist Farshad Momeni.
However, the Islamic Republic has been challenged by social crises before economic ones. The government faces an unprecedented ire, and the volcano of public fury may erupt each moment.
“God damn Khamenei… Why did you take power? You have damaged the entire people’s lives… Why should this be so?… What is the distinction between our children with yours?… We are the sons of people who wish to have a normal lives,” said a citizen.