Iran’s economy is in shambles, ravaged by years of corruption, ineptitude, and mismanagement. The country’s currency, the rial, has long been on a downward path, the inflation rate hovers around %50, and prices are skyrocketing. All have resulted in tremendous pressure on Iranians.
Iranian workers, who lack basic job security, are among the most vulnerable sectors of society. The currency freefall takes its toll on skyrocketing prices, preventing people, mainly workers, from covering their basic needs.
“Iran ranks 160 in terms of workers’ salary with a minimum wage of $75 per month, lower than Libya, Iraq, Bangladesh, and some neighboring countries,” the state-run Hamdeli daily acknowledged on March 1.
The Iranian workers’ meager salaries are not compatible with the “double-digit inflation,” according to Hamdeli. “For example, two years ago, workers ‘wages in Iran were 18 million rials. This figure was lower than workers’ wages in Afghanistan,” the paper wrote, adding that therefore Iran under the mullahs’ regime has the “cheapest labor force in the world.”
According to the state-run Radar-e Eghtesad website on March 2, “The current wage may cover one-third of a worker’s monthly living expenses. The minimum wage and benefits of a working family of three people will be 52 million rials in the upcoming [Persian Year of] 1401. This figure is not even commensurate with the 42.2 percent inflation this year.”
In other words, based on the current dollar exchange rate on the free market, Iranian workers’ salary in the upcoming Persian Year of 1401, starting March 21, will be around $200.
“In this situation, a married worker and, ahead of a three-member household, must earn 37 million rials in addition to their 52 million rials salary to only cover the current living expenses of the family and not fall below the poverty line.”
Radar-e Eghtesad website asserts that “according to experts, the minimum cost of a living basket is 100 to 120 million rials. But the members of the Supreme Labor Council have set the subsistence basket at 89 million rials.”
February 27 – Tehran, #Iran
Retired steel workers & pensioners protesting poor living conditions & demanding adequate pensions based on rising inflation.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) February 27, 2022
In other words, the Iranian workers’ “52 million rials salary, is unrealistic, and the Iranian labor force has been left on its own under the intense pressure of inflation, making desperate efforts to earn a meager living,” according to the state-controlled website.
Since 2018, the Iranian regime started banknote printing to compensate for its budget deficit. By expanding the money supply gradually by more than 30 percent annually in more than a decade, which has reached its peak in recent years, the country’s liquidity surpassed the 3% production rate.
Thus, inflation has exploded and by official figures is now hovering around 50%, and sometimes around 60%.
In its article on March 1, Hamdeli acknowledged that “food items a 60% inflation rate, the 50 to 200 percent increase in rents in working-class areas, a lack of exchange rate control in 2022, and government policies to increase real taxes on workers and wage,” endanger workers’ lives.
In other words, they should endure a yet more miserable financial calamity. Meanwhile, the regime squanders national wealth and fuels proxy wars in many countries. Social protests by people from all walks of life spread and intensify across the country. The ongoing wave of protests from north to south and from west to eastern parts of Iran demonstrate society’s explosive state and lay bare the people’s both financial and political frustration.
Tehran’s goal, however, is to pursue its malign objectives, desperately trying to save its fragile grip on power, thus leaving the battered economy aside. This, in turn, has increased society’s volatility, rising warnings by state media and officials.
“The ever-rising living costs, serious reduction of welfare, increasing poverty, social dissatisfaction, and social harms, etc., ultimately expunge people’s threshold of tolerance, reduce the coefficient of social solidarity, halt development, and lead to intensified violence” Radar-e Eghtesad warned regime officials.