Institutional looting and corruption and the dominance of the Iranian government institutions over the country’s economy, as the regime’s parliament speaker Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf has acknowledged, has led to prosperity for four percent of the country’s population and the expansion of poverty among the rest.
The result as expected is the growing class gap in Iran, as these days the state-run media have confessed. At the head of these marauding institutions are the institutions affiliated with the supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s office, which have monopolized a large part of the country’s economy and caused a class divide in the country.
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, head of the judiciary, admitted this without naming the institutions and monopolies that created a class divide in the country: “Some monopolies in the country have created a class divide’ (Mehr News Agency, July 31, 2021).
“The significant class gap in Iran is the monthly income of the tenth decile in the city of more than 70 million, and the income of the first decile in the village is only 500,000 Tomans per month,” the Khabar Fori Telegram Channel reported.
The income status of the poorest segments of society, especially the incomes of the lower strata in the villages, is so low that the Farhikhtegan newspaper wrote about it on August 28, 2021:
“The study of expenditure and income of households in the country shows that such similar cases have only been observed in critical years such as war and famine in the last 100 years. The situation is similar for rural households, and the cost-to-income ratio in the country’s villages has risen from 1.2 in 2010 to 0.8 in 2019, indicating a sharp drop in consumption. Studies of inequality indicators indicate deepening class differences. The main cause of income inequality for Iran’s economy exists in the same structural problems of the Iranian economy.”
What this means is that people have reached the lowest point of the poverty line, the hunger line, and the survival line, which means that most people in society have reached a point where they are struggling for their survival. Currently, more than 60 percent of Iranians are on the hunger line and survival line.
In the face of rising inflation, unemployment, inequality, reduced per capita income and purchasing power of the people, and ultimately the shrinking livelihood basket, there is a highly affluent group dependent on the regime that has spent an average of 230,000 billion tomans to buy villas, a wealthy class that has spent $2.9 billion on luxury car imports over three years.
The average cost of importing a foreign car is equal to the annual living costs of 33,000 people in the outskirts of the cities.
The effects of increasing the class gap and widespread poverty in society are not only obvious in the economic context but also its destructive effects can be felt in wider areas.
“Today, poverty has a broader meaning of material poverty, including lack of access to safe water, nutrition, health services, education, clothing, and shelter, living standards, social insurance, and employment. Poverty can be defined in at least four dimensions: lack of economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital.” (Etemad daily, August 29, 2021)
The trend of ‘social damages,’ crises such as addiction, marginalization, theft, divorce, suicide, street violence, and assault, in the country is constantly increasing and the age of people involved in these crises is decreasing compared to past years. Suicide and domestic violence statistics have also grown, according to forensic statistics.