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Corruption Main Cause of Accidents in Iran

The release of a painful video of an abandoned baby in a bin in Tehran coincided with the collapse of the Metropol building in Abadan. These two events show the depth of the effects of the regime’s corruption and looting on a rich country like Iran, and more importantly, its people.

The truth of the matter is that Iran has more than enough resources to prevent such bitter episodes from happening, but thanks to the Iranian regime’s politics, none of the wealth is reaching the Iranian people. As a result, people are forced to live their life constantly confronted by dangers created by the regime. No one is excluded, from an abandoned baby to those who seek to gain a little more wealth by investing their property in businesses such as the Metropol building in Abadan.

This is a bitter, painful, breathtaking, and unfortunately, believable story that highlights the hidden cruelty under the skin of Iran’s cities.

In reference to this widespread corruption, the regime’s state-run daily Arman-e Meli wrote in its publication, “We should not lose sight that in fatal accidents with a high number of casualties there is a footprint of corruption. We must now understand more than ever that corruption, selfishness, and personal and group utilitarianism threaten people’s lives besides they are plundering them.”

It added, “These corrupt relations and disregarding rules and regulations are suddenly becoming evident in places such as the Metropol building in Abadan which create disasters. Weak managements that are determined solely based on political, familial, and acquaintance relationships, even if they are not tainted with corruption, create the ground for corruption, and corruption spreads like a thousand-headed cancer and keeps no place safe from pollution.”

Highlighting the need to learn from these tragedies, the Arman-e Meli also stated, “Let’s learn for once, at least from the suffering of the survivors and victims of the Abadan Metropol, that there is no compliment and that problems cannot be solved by a few administrative orders. We need big and courageous changes in structures and decisions to define everything around national interests, security, and safety.”

The collapse of the Metropol building happened despite promises from the regime’s officials, after a similar accident in Tehran concerning the Plasco building, that construction projects would be fundamentally overhauled and strict regulations will be enacted, with controls and oversight to prevent accidents, but this did not happen.

Now the 10-story building in Abadan has collapsed, killing 28 people so far, and even worse, no one knows how many people are left under the rubble. The possibility of the rest of the building collapsing, just like in the Plasco incident, is a danger to rescuers, who are mostly civilians. Videos on social media have routinely shown that during similar accidents, and even during natural disasters, the regime does not provide any aid to those affected, and the people are left to deal with the aftermath on their own.

In Iran, all accidents have an unusual number and occurrence. No one can ever give you the exact number of the people dying, or better said killed or injured, due to the regime’s policies on the streets, factories, or construction sites, and the regime’s penchant for hiding the truth.

The Untold Story of Iran Regime’s Assassinated Qods Force Commander

On the evening of May 22, IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodai, one of the senior commanders of the Iranian regime’s Quds Force, was shot dead in Tehran.

Khodai was born in 1972, growing up in Miyaneh city in East Azerbaijan province. He joined the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in his teens in 1987.

The state-run Nasim news agency reported that ‘Colonel Khodai was responsible for transferring missile technology to the Hezbollah in Lebanon.’

According to the ‘Defa Press (Defense Press)’ website, affiliated with the regime’s Ministry of Defense, Khodai was formerly the Deputy Minister of Research and Technology Development of the Defense Industries Organization.

The ‘Quds’ telegram channel, heavily affiliated with the regime’s Quds Force, announced, “Colonel Khodai had just returned from his mission in Syria a few days ago.” The regime’s media have also reported that he was close to Qassem Soleimani, the eliminated commander of the Quds Force.

Quoting Israeli media, the regime’s state media also claimed, “Colonel Khodai was also responsible for planning terrorist attacks and kidnapping Israelis.”

Without giving details, in a statement by the Revolutionary Guards, the incident was attributed to ‘counter-revolutionary and global arrogance’ groups, which could refer to countries such as Israel.

The IRGC also said that Khodai was a ‘defender of the sanctuary’, a term used for Iranians who are active on behalf of the state in Syria or Iraq. Iran is a key ally of Bashar al-Assad in his bloody campaign against the people of Syria.

Khodai is the most prominent IRGC official to be killed in Iran since the elimination of leading nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrisadeh in November 2020, known as the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Tehran had blamed Israel for the attack on Fakhrisadeh’s convoy near Tehran. It later came to light that he had been acting in the role of Deputy Secretary of Defense.

In January 2020, Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq. Soleimani had commanded the Quds Force of the IRGC, which is responsible for the regime’s foreign operations, warmongering, and global terrorism.

With a great deal of fanfare, the regime vowed to take revenge for these killings but has never actually followed through with such hollow announcements.

The Twitter account of Noornews, which is said to be close to the Supreme National Security Council of the regime, wrote, “The killing of Sayad Khodai is crossing the red line without calculation, which changes many equations. The perpetrators of this crime will pay a heavy price.”

IRGC’s Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami, also claimed, “The blood of Martyr Sayad Khodai will not go unanswered.”

Not Even India Invests in Iran’s Ports

Over the past few years, India has been expanding Iran’s port of Chabahar, seeking to send goods through this route to markets in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Northern, and Eastern Europe. However, India has now changed its decisions and abandoned the Iranian regime, in favor of joining the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council’s Rail Network (GCC) instead.

This railway starts in Muscat, Oman, and connects all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states in Eastern Arabia. The project, which has been under construction since 2009, is 2,177 km long and will be operational by 2025. It is worth mentioning that these countries have the largest and most advanced ports in the Persian Gulf region.

The ports of these countries, including the one in the UAE, are among the five largest ports in the world, and the countries bordering the Persian Gulf have now decided to connect their transport infrastructure by creating a common railway from Israel to Turkey, and then connecting to Europe from there.

This has been a huge hit on the Iranian regime, especially the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which intended to take advantage of handing over the port of Chabahar to India to assist in their smuggling operations.

In addition to the losses for the regime’s organizations, this decision will have disastrous consequences for Iran’s economy in the future, because it will lose a significant source of revenue as the country with the longest coast and many ports in the Persian Gulf. Needless to say, the regime has not improved any of Iran’s ports since the beginning of its reign.

On Tuesday, May 17, the state-run daily Shargh quoted Ali Ziaei, a regime’s transport industry analyst, as saying that India had turned a blind eye to Iran’s Chabahar port for the transit of its goods.

According to the newspaper, the railway network will reach the port of Haifa in Israel and then extend to Turkey. Following the normalization of relations between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Israel, the completion of this railway network has gained astonishing speed as The UAE and Israel have invested heavily in building and upgrading their current infrastructure. It has come to light that India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel have been pursuing a joint economic project called the India-Middle East Food Corridor for a long time.

India, as one of the world’s food giants and, of course, a large economy, is seeking to manage its water resources and modernize agriculture with this project, and Israel, as one of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of industrial agriculture, is helping India in this regard.

Ziaei explained, “In my opinion, India and the United States deceived Iran. While the US exempted the Chabahar port from the sanctions and India demonstrated a passive presence in this port, they caused the development of Chabahar port to be postponed and now India has left Chabahar port and joined the Persian Gulf railway project.”

He emphasized that the regime’s passivity in developing its trade infrastructure has eroded golden opportunities for transit through Iran’s borders and that it any hope of reviving them or creating new opportunities is practically lost.

Khamenei’s Wrong Decisions and Its Poisoning Result

In recent days, many demonstrations have taken place across Iran, protesting the Iranian regime’s decisions to increase the price of some of the most basic goods, like bread and chicken. Following this decision, the regime took many security measures to prevent a scene of nationwide protests, akin to those in November 2019 which began soon after the regime announced a price hike for gasoline.

During the protests, the slogans chanted by the people were directed at the regime’s highest officials, from its supreme leader to its president. This alone shows that the people’s main demand is no longer economic, but rather that they seek a regime change, as their tolerance of the regime has reached its threshold.

Looking back, it is clear to see just how big of a mistake the regime Supreme Leader Khamenei made in his decision to appoint Ebrahim Raisi as president.

In his opening remarks in 2022, Khamenei referred to the appointment of Raisi as ‘the great sweetener of 2021’. However, since Raisi became President, there have been failings after failings. Khamenei is desperate to defend Raisi’s policies; after all, he is the one who put him in charge in the first place.

The fact is that Khamenei has tied the regime’s destiny with a gordian knot which will only intensify the people’s protests. It has gotten to the point that a state-run media outlet, the Jomhuri Eslami, called for the resignation of Raisi in an article titled ‘Declaration of Serious Danger’, referring to the total collapse of the ruling body and the explosive conditions of the society.

The paper wrote, “Now even your pro-government forces are protesting your actions, and we know that the efforts of a group of pro-government forces to justify the opposition of their forces are like milking the ram. Now that you cannot solve the problems, bravely step aside, and leave the work to skilled people to save the people and the country from this dangerous vortex.”

Khamenei knew very well what crises he would face when he assembled candidates for high positions within the regime. By picking totally incompetent people, men well known for their crimes and other atrocities, Khamenei has revealed his evil intentions.

Ebrahim Raisi, infamous for his role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, took the position of the presidency. Many IRGC officers, incumbent or retired have been appointed to the cabinet as ministers or their deputies.

Most local officials and governors of the country have also been chosen from among the former and present commanders of the IRGC. Even the regime’s judiciary, by order of Khamenei, is under the control of one of the most criminal clerics e, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, who once bit off the ear of someone who had disagreed with him.

The regime’s parliament is under the control of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, former State Security Force Commander who has bragged about being a club-wielder on the streets, and members of parliament have, once again, been selected mostly from the members of the Basij and IRGC officers. The only reason for such an arrangement is the regime’s fear of the people and its main opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), as well as the National Council Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

A few months ago, Khamenei stated that a ‘foreign enemy’ was threatening the regime’s existence but could not specify who or what this enemy was. In the months since his remark, it is apparent that that ‘foreign enemy’ is none other than the MEK and its resilient and expanding Resistance Units.

Iran: Officials Promote Starving Citizens Under a ‘Great Economic Plan’

Over the past four decades, the Iranian regime has been infamous for making false statements. As a result, citizens today no longer even believe the date of state-run papers. Iranian officials continue to spread incorrect data and have launched a misinformation campaign against protests, leaving thousands of citizens in an uproar.

The people of Iran are forced to contend with not only dealing with the regime’s financial mismanagement and failures but also their state-backed propaganda and misguiding statements. However, their perseverance in continuing and extending their protests across the country proves that the mullahs have failed to deceive society. With no other way to quell the unrest, the regime’s officials have resorted to increasing security measures and launching bloody crackdowns on defenseless protesters.

A Great Economic Plan or Starving Citizens?

Since its inception, the regime has exploited international, regional, and domestic crises to refuse people’s rightful demands. As authorities and commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have lined their pockets with national resources, more and more Iranian families have fallen below the poverty line.

Adding to the crisis, systematic corruption has further intensified financial turmoil in the country. Since Ebrahim Raisi—the butcher of 1988—took office in August 2021, the IRGC expanded its domination of Iran’s economy more than ever to compensate for its vast expenditures of fueling extremist entities in the Middle East and launching terror plots across the globe.

Instead of avoiding terrorism, nuclear-bomb-making projects, and meaningless hostility against regional states and the West, Raisi’s government is more focused on offsetting its budget deficits at the expense of citizens by removing subsidies and rationing essential items under ridiculous pretexts, including ‘countering smuggling’ and ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.’

Mocking the regime’s claims, citizens have stated, “Ukrainian officials have yet to ration bread while their country has been invaded, but Iranian authorities rationed bread due to the war in Ukraine. Woe to such amount of glory.”

“The regime falsely advertises removing subsidies and shrinking the food basket of impoverished citizens as a ‘great economic plan.’ However, the only outcome of its lies is starving society,” observers say. “The people of Iran no longer endure starvation and suffering, and the regime’s plundering policies led thousands of people to anti-regime protests across Iran.”

Who Are Profiteering Individuals?

On Sunday, May 13, the Day-news website quoted the State Security Force spokesperson Mehdi Hajian as he expressed his concerns about society’s volcanic situation, saying, “Implementing a ‘great economic plan’ will bring side effects in every country, and profiteering individuals pursue their interests.”

Today, the people of Iran are well aware that IRGC commanders and state-backed mafias are controlling almost the entire financial system. In July 2011, the regime’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described IRGC commanders as “smuggler brothers.”

On July 4, 2011, in a specialized conference on ‘New Strategies in Prevention and Combating Smuggling Commodity and Currency,’ Ahmadinejad stated, “Corruption will be created immediately when several people obtain above-the-law allowances. The figures are not low; the annual revenue associated with smoking in Iran is between $1.3 and 1.48 billion. This figure tempts international smugglers, let alone our smuggler brothers.”

Read More: IRGC Commander Hassan Ra’yat: Profile of a Mafia Leader in Iran

Over recent years, Iranian citizens have repeatedly revealed the locations of the IRGC’s warehouses, where the state-backed mafia was hoarding essential hygienic items and pharmaceutics drugs during the country’s worse health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since March 21, we discovered 3.3 million liters of cooking oil, more than 5,300 tons of wheat and flour, 2,700 tons of livestock products, and 3,300 tons of rice, hoarded or smuggled. Meanwhile, we identified and detained 1,284 accused persons and delivered them to the judiciary,” said Hajian.

However, the security official neglected to clarify why these essential goods have been scarce in the markets despite their counter-smuggling and counter-hoarding achievements?

Hajian later implicitly admitted the state-backed mafia’s role in the smuggling and hoarding operations, stating, “This amount of smuggling is definitely impossible to be conducted individually. We should amplify supervising measures at the country’s entrance gates and adopt excessive restrictions. The police should access the data of the Industry, Mine, and Trade Ministry.”

After Coronavirus, Iran’s Regime Kills People Through Starvation

Multiple protests have recently erupted in various cities across Iran, following the 100 to 400 percent increase in the prices of bread and other staple goods.

Having previously experienced a price increase of gasoline in November 2019, which sparked a nationwide uprising, the Iranian regime’s officials, fearing a popular backlash, are blaming this increase on international events and fictitious factors.

On May 9, Iran regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei defended the regime president’s economic policies and said, “Today, the work that the government is doing in the field of economy is important and needs the help of everyone, that is, all the institutions, the various branches, the people, the groups must all help the government, God willing, to achieve these results. Patience is also necessary.”

Read More: A Part of Khamenei’s Economic Empire in Iran

Contrary to Khamenei’s claims, in a speech in the regime’s parliament, Behzad Rahimi referred to the poverty and hunger of the Iranian people, saying, “After eliminating meat, rice, fruit, pasta, nuts, and fancy bread, how can we respond to the increase in pasta by several hundred percent? Before they shrunk the people’s purchasing power, do not make any compliment, and officially announce that people should clean up their tables and eat dry bread while standing up.”

The truth is that the Iranian regime is running a killing machine, starting with the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, then the killing of 1,500 people in November 2019, and finally with the help of the expansion of the coronavirus. Now it seems that this trend is continuing, with high prices of everyday goods being unaffordable for most people, the regime is practically forcing starvation on society.

Raisi desperately tried to defend the performance of the government, saying, “The issue of people’s lives during the coronavirus was a serious concern. 700 Iranian families were grieving every day.”

He has forgotten that over the past two years, the Iranian government never announced such a statistic, and he neglected to mention that they refuse to announce the real number of the people slaughtered during the November 2019 protests, fearing the furious reaction of the Iranian people.

However, inadvertently, he confirmed the statistics that had previously been announced by the Iranian Resistance, which was more than a half-million people.

On August 24, quoting Dr. Holakouee, a professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, the regime’s state-run daily Shargh wrote, “The death toll should be two and a half to three times the official number. But I say you can increase the death toll up to seven times.”

Raisi ridiculously claimed that around 300,000 rials [~$1] would be available in living aid to the people, but did not state when or how this would be achieved and implemented nationwide.

He said: “At the beginning of the year, we want to have a price change for some basic goods. It is currently planned that such support will be given for two months, then it will be turned into an electronic coupon. It will be a living aid for a month or two until the technical infrastructure for the electronic coupon is fully prepared.”

Barely a day after Raisi’s remarks, the regime’s minister of agriculture stated, “Because the necessary infrastructure is not available for the allocation of the coupon, cash deposits will be made.”

The state-run daily Tejarat News were quick to quote one of the regime’s economists in their publication, who warned that, “New cash subsidies cannot be withdrawn.”

Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi, a member of the regime’s parliament, warned the regime about the people’s fury on his Twitter account and said, “Releasing the price of flour and calculating it at the world rate in dollars; It is a big mistake. If people’s expenses are to be at world prices, their income must be at the world level and in dollars too, not the worthless rials. Let’s not test people’s patience. The threshold of people’s tolerance has reached the lowest possible level for years.”

Immediately after the price of flour was increased by five to ten times, the regime promised the Iranian people that with more cash subsidies, it would prevent the transfer of the cost of increasing the price of bread to them. According to the regime’s Minister of Economy, around 77 million people in Iran are entitled to receive a ‘living subsidy’. The supposed amount of the subsidy for about 30 percent of those people is 400,000 rials [~$1.33], while for a further 60 percent, the subsidy will be 300,000 rials.

Discussing the ridiculousness of providing subsidies to 77 million people, the regime’s Telegram channel Chand Sanieh wrote that a number of households will not be entitled to receive any subsidy. They said these included, “Families who have made three foreign trips in the last four years, families who have a car over 300 million rials [~$1,000] or a public car over 400 million rials [~$1,333] , those whose income is over four million rials and a family of five whose income is over eight million rials per month.”

As a result of this subsidy, workers’ wages will be not increased. In addition to that, teachers and other employees, except government employees and nurses, will not be eligible to receive any subsidy. Therefore, the regime’s promise to provide living subsidies for 77 million people is a lie.

Fearing the people’s reaction, the regime’s interior minister has said, “People receive subsidies for the increase in the price of these four basic commodities,” while the minister of agriculture has claimed that the increase in the price of some products would be offset by the payment of subsidies.

Requirements for a Simple Life in Iran; the Unattainable Dream

It is no exaggeration to say that Iran’s economy is in a major freefall. All economic indicators are suggesting that the economic realities in Iran are deteriorating fast, and with the continuing trend of skyrocketing inflation, the prices of basic goods such as bread, meat, and rice are rising daily.

Discussing the effects of the economic crises on society, the state-run media continue to about the dismissals and strikes of workers who have not been paid their salaries for months, many of whom work in government-run factories.

With housing prices rising by about 50 percent in recent months in some areas, even owning a house in Tehran has become practically impossible for most people.

Since 2018, the value of Iran’s currency against the US dollar has fallen by more than 70 percent. The official inflation rate is reported to be about 40 percent, when in fact the true rate is much higher. As a result, more than half of Iran’s population of 82 million lives below the poverty line. Unofficial estimates also suggest that the unemployment rate across the country is much higher than the official rate of 11 percent.

Compared to the past year, the prices of milk, yogurt, and eggs have increased by more than 80 percent. According to the State Statistics Agency, the prices of vegetables and meat have also risen by more than 70 percent and even staple foods, such as bread and rice, have had their prices increased by more than 50 percent.

The cause of the vicious inflation rates is the government printing more banknotes to account for the shortages in the local currency, but without backing up its already mounting debts. As a result, many people have been left extremely impoverished. Even government figures show that last year, the number of citizens living below the official poverty line, who were earning less than $46 a month, increased by more than 40 percent.

In an editorial titled ‘Serious Danger!’, Masih Mohajeri, the editor of the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, wrote, “Bread did not become more expensive during the (Iran-Iraq) war. At that time, I heard from the Prime Minister that he had heard from Khomeini that the government wants to increase the price of bread by one rial and he (Khomeini) immediately objected.”

On April 15, the state-run ISNA news agency reported that the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi was unhappy with the rise in prices of basic goods and had ordered regulators to investigate the ‘hidden causes’. Stating that the price is unreasonable and unjustifiable, Raisi tried to put blame on unknown sources and said, “It is unacceptable that a certain company or factory in the private sector can suddenly increase the price of its goods.”

These are the words of a president who admits his complete inability to control prices, even though he has repeatedly promised to fight inflation since taking office last year.

This comes at a time when food, housing, fuel, and basic commodity prices have risen to unprecedented levels in recent months. As always, the mullahs blame the economic and social problems of the people on imaginary and unknown factors, rather than accept and take responsibility for their own actions.

Raisi has repeatedly blamed the previous government of Hassan Rouhani, those who tried to destabilize his government, and so-called smugglers and promised to improve the situation in the future. Now he must answer the question, how long does it take to realize that the country cannot be run on the basis of‘ speech therapy’? This is a term coined by the state media to describe Raisi’s penchant to give speeches filled with false hope and hollow promises.

Even someone loyal to the regime, like Mohajeri, said, “Do not try to deceive the people or call the critics of the current situation, of which you are the founder, counter-revolutionary, and dependent on the United States and Zionism. The truth is that the people are not buying anymore such ridiculous excuses.”

Immediately after these comments were made, rival media outlet, the Quds Online blamed the Jomhuri Eslami, writing, “If honesty and courage are the criteria for the author of this analysis, he should first apologize to the public opinion and the system for presenting toxic analyzes that have affected the economy and the people of the country, not now that the government has achieved great success in curbing hereditary challenges.”

Looking at the current political climate, it appears that the power struggle between the various factions of this corrupt regime has reached new levels that have never been seen or felt before.

It is also worth mentioning that Raisi was the only presidential candidate that Khamenei wanted to come into power and on various occasions, he has approved and praised him and his government, even though this administration’s failings over this past year have been catastrophic.

As a result, one of the regime’s most influential newspapers is calling for Khamenei’s resignation. This should be considered a serious alarm for the Supreme Leader and a step forward for freedom and democracy for the Iranian people.

Sale of Iran’s Historical Items; Is There Anything Left To Sell?

Some of the members of the Iranian regime’s parliament have submitted a plan on the ‘optimal use of antiquities and treasures,’ which is suspected to be the base for auctioning and looting Iran’s historical artifacts.

This plan has already caused many concerns among the archaeological community and the supporters of cultural heritage. This community believes that the approval of such a plan will give legal legitimacy to the excavations and illegal smuggling of historical objects by the regime’s parliament.

Background of the plan:

Back in 2010, Hamid Baghaei, at the time the head of the regime’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, presented a plan with the same name to the Iranian parliament, but at that time this plan was not approved, and eventually, it was removed from the agenda of the parliament due to the objections. Baghaei was later reported to have been planning to set up a market for buying and selling historical objects in Qeshm and Kish Islands.

Twelve years later, this plan has once again been presented to parliament, this time by the regime’s MPs. This turn of events is indeed surprising as the major duty of the parliament is to prioritize the protection of the national heritage, antiques, and treasures.

As regards Iran’s cultural heritage, the regime has set up inefficient laws to deal with smugglers of historical objects and antiques, which is a major problem as this practice is becoming extremely commonplace, even in cyberspace.

When this latest plan was introduced to the government, the regime’s MPs mentioned that this plan was being actioned because historical objects and antiques are being sold on the black market, and therefore, they must prevent this illegal activity.

As for the benefits of this plan, the regime has stated that the sale of these objects will provide the country with foreign currency. In a more precise sense, the regime is intending to find an alternative way to pay for its malign financial activities.

It goes without saying that in the wake of the country’s dire economic situation, and the inadequacy of the regime to improve the situation leaving the economy in a state of complete bankruptcy, such plans can only signify the regime’s intentions for blatant looting and legalizing it, while at the same time usurping the national assets of the Iranian people. The regime’s officials and leaders have a long history in this regard.

In a letter to the regime’s parliament speaker Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf, Iran’s archeologists asked him, “Which country do you know, with a historical background like Iran, auctions its national and cultural assets for cash inflow?”

In their letter, they stated, “It has been a long time that the rein of protecting the achievements and cultural heritage of our beloved Iran is out of the hands of those in charge. The number of damaged and looted archeological sites is out of number, and the only solution is to change the law, but not in favor of the profiteer.”

The archeologists went on to state, “Only a glance of any archaeological graduate is enough to clarify that the creators of the project are not only unaware of the axioms and alphabets of archeology, but also they did not gain any consultation of any official archaeological institutions in the country; The presence of the shameless and misleading word ‘treasure’ in the title of the plan makes everything crystal clear.”

Following the objections of the archaeologists, regime MP Hossein Jalali explained that there is negligence in the plan that provides the ground for the smugglers and gives the profiteers free rein. He stated, “To this end, we realized that the plan needed to be modified.”

According to the MPs, the benefits of the plan are as follows:

  • Iran will become a regional hub for the trade of antiquities, providing the country with foreign currency.
  • It will create a new source of revenue for the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage to help them purchase and preserve antiquities.
  • It will provide abundant job creations for graduates of fields related to history, gemology, and archeology.
  • It will preserve the treasures of civilization and ancient heritage from destruction and unprofessional excavations.
  • It will also preserve the treasures of civilization and ancient heritage by selling them at a bargain price to brokers and smugglers.

Iran: Bread Protests Are on Way, Stronger Than Gas Protests

Observers in Iran believe that nationwide protests and uprisings are underway following the Iranian regime’s decision to increase the price of flour and remove subsidized bread from the shelves. The regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi has also breached his promises about ‘eliminating absolute poverty’, ‘constructing one million homes’, and ‘supporting the underprivileged’, even before marking his government’s first anniversary.

Fazel Meybodi, a low-ranking mullah at Qom Howzeh [an Islamic Seminary], challenged the regime’s president in regard to his insufficiency and failure, asking, “Mr. Raisi; didn’t Prophet Mohammad say, ‘Damn be upon who accepts a task without knowledge?”

Meybodi also questioned the authority of the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who extraordinarily purged Raisi’s rivals during the 2020 Presidential election to appoint his protégé, warning “People’s ‘riot’ is more dangerous than a revolution.”

On November 15, 2019, Raisi’s so-called ‘reformist’ predecessor Hassan Rouhani suddenly increased the price of gas by 200 percent, prompting hundreds of thousands of citizens to protest across the country. Two days later, Khamenei declared his support for the gas price hikes and hampered the Parliament [Majlis] bill to decrease the prices.

Khamenei referred to protesters as ‘rioters and hooligans,’ and ordered the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to, “Do whatever it takes to end [protests].” The IRGC quelled the nationwide demonstrations with helicopters, armored vehicles, heavy machineguns, snipers, and live ammunition, leaving more than 1,500 dead and many more wounded. Now ‘hardline’ and IRGC-backed Raisi have targeted people’s staple food.

A Glance at Bread Price in Iran

The authorities have resorted to increasing flour and bread prices to compensate for their stellar budget deficits, at a time that the country is suffering from an economic crisis due to the regime’s mismanagement and wasting national wealth on terrorism and nuclear ambitions.

On April 26, the main state-run TV channel acknowledged that the price of flour would increase from 25,000 rials [$0.09] per kilogram to 120,000 to 169,000 rials [$0.42-0.60]. The official IRNA news agency unveiled the regime’s critical conditions eight days later, writing in their May 4 publication, “The crisis is [too dangerous] as the only remaining solution is to remove subsidies, meaning a stellar increase in the bread price.”

Following the price hike of flour, the price of bread also soared, while the price of baguettes soared 13-fold. State media soon sounded alarm bells about rampant costs, with the Eslahat News website reporting on May 3, “Sandwich prices have reached 300,000 to 500,000 rials [$1.07-1.78]. It is no longer possible to purchase falafel; its bread costs 100,000 rials [$0.35] alone.”

Adding to the price hikes, the regime is yet to adjust the minimum wages to compete with the skyrocketing inflation in the country. The semiofficial ILNA news agency reported on May 7, “In less than two months, high prices have significantly emptied working families’ product baskets. The minimum wages were raised by 57 percent this year; however, the average increase in foodstuff prices was more than 200 percent, meaning a 150-percent decrease in ‘workers’ real wages.’”

At the same time, the Economy Ministry announced that it would begin rationing bread. The people will be required to pay $0.35 for a loaf of bread. As the workers’ minimum wage is $100 per month, this means that every working family of an average of 3.3 people has to pay $106 monthly in order to receive three loaves of bread per day, which is simply unaffordable considering other expenses.

According to the Iranian government, Raisi is reportedly putting a cap on the price hikes. Cabinet spokesperson Ali Bahadori Jahromi was quoted in an article on the Jamaran website on May 6, saying, “The President will not allow the bread to become more expensive in such circumstances.”

However, even people loyal to the theocratic regime mocked Raisi and his failures again on social media, with many stating that “Raisi’s commanding economy no longer works.”

“The expensive bread is equivalent to cheap lives,” stated the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) on May 5. “The regime has extended its claws to people’s food baskets. This process began with gasoline price hikes—in November 2019—and continued with increasing the house, pharmaceutical drugs, and foodstuffs prices. Today, it has reached the lone food that remained in people’s tablecloths.”

In a message to Raisi by a group of Basij students on May 5, warned him that “the multiple-fold increase in the flour price may lead to social unrest, particularly when anti-revolutionary media have laid in ambush to drag the country to chaos.”

Iran: Tax Pressure on the People and Exemption for the ‘Super Rich’

In a critical situation where most of the Iranian regime’s officials and media outlets are warning its leaders to take control over the inflation and astronomical prices of most of the basic goods, which are adding to the people’s grievances, Raisi’s administration is compensating its budget deficit with VAT.

Something that has shown this critical situation is the increase in the price of macaroni. The state-run daily Entekhab wrote about this increase, which is the result of VAT, stating, “The maximum consumer price of simple noodles with a value of 500 grams was set at 17,000 tomans, 700 grams at 24,000 tomans, and 1,000 grams at 34,000 tomans. The previous price of 500 g, 700 g and 1000 g of pasta was 6300, 8600 and 12,500 tomans, respectively.”

This is just one example. It is not only pasta prices that have skyrocketed but also the prices of other food items and people’s needs following the increase in ‘VAT’. According to one of the regime’s economic experts, ‘increasing consumption tax’ is one of the main causes of inflation.

Of course, it is not only through VAT that commodity prices have risen exponentially, leaving the poor and oppressed living under pressure, but also through the increase in taxes in the 2022 budget, many people are being systematically extorted.

The state-run daily, Khabar Online said, “Employees pay 10 percent of the country’s tax and profitable state-owned companies nothing.”

While the vulnerable members of society are struggling with the regime’s latest decisions, wealthy institutions such as the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), the Mostazafan Foundation, the Housing Foundation, the Relief Committee, etc. do not pay any taxes formally, or they avoid them under various coverings such as tax evasion and arrears, each of which is denoted by astronomical figures.

The state-run daily Kayhan, the mouthpiece of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, wrote about tax arrears in their publication, stating, “224 trillion tomans of tax arrears is close to the budget of one year of the country.”

This pressure on the people through direct and indirect taxes is in a situation where state-owned companies, and companies affiliated with the regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s office, are either exempt from paying taxes or avoiding paying them altogether.

The tax burden on the people is so great that fears of a social explosion have alarmed even the pro-government media. The state-run Iran daily wrote, “A 73 percent increase in taxes, in addition to putting pressure on poor people, will increase the recession, and livelihood pressures on people will increase this year.”

Even heads of the regime’s Basij are warning the regime and expressing their fears. In Raisi’s recent meeting with some of them in the local university, they accused the administration of having “sold the future government to the rich and super-rich” who do not pay taxes, and “delayed the reform of the tax system in favor of the super riches.”

Of course, they did not name these people as doing so would mean that they would have had to name Khamenei and the institutions affiliated with him.

Another one of the regime’s super-rich institutions is the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which controls a large part of the country’s economy. The Khatam al-Anbiya construction base, affiliated with the IRGC and which oversees the country’s largest projects, is one of the largest super-rich institutions in this system.