Around nine million Iranian families are living below the poverty line, revealed an Iranian lawmaker at a time President Ebrahim Raisi is facing multiple warnings from conservative allies that a hike in prices could lead to possible popular protests in the country.
Mohammad Hassan Asfari, a member of parliament, blamed all Iranian parties for the current situation facing the country, criticizing the lifting of government support for the import of food commodities.
“When we want to solve economic woes from people's pockets, poverty would spike in severity every day,” he said in a press interview.
The lawmaker noted that economic struggles “cannot be solved with promises and words.” He also downplayed the reported increase of up to 57% in workers’ salaries, doubting its ability to help resolve the problem of poverty.
He revealed that 9 million Iranian families are now living below the poverty line, adding that “the majority of families are waiting to receive aid from the Imam Committee and the Welfare Organization.”
Meanwhile, the Student Basij, a subgrouping of the Basij militia that is itself a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), issued a stark warning to hardline President Raisi.
“We strongly inform you that society is not prepared for such a sudden increase in prices at this level,” the group said in a statement on Thursday.
“The turmoil in the markets in recent weeks, and especially the shocking decision by the Agriculture Ministry to increase the price of flour for industrial producers, could have social consequences and lead to unrest.”
Earlier this week, well-informed Iranian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the country's top authorities issued “secret directives” to the security services and the judiciary to be on alert for the next three months.
The orders come in anticipation of public protests with the rise in food prices and fears of the collapse of the Vienna nuclear deal negotiations.