The staggering rate of unemployment in Iran

Unemployment in the past several years has skyrocketed in Iran, according to state-run media reports. Since the mullahs’ firebrand president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came to power in 2005, unemployment has more than doubled in the country.

The Iranian regime’s Statistics Center has officially put the current figure at 14.6 percent, but other regime institutions like the House of Workers say it is around 17 percent. Unofficial figures are believed to be much higher.

According to the state-run ILNA news agency, official statistics stood around 7 percent when Ahmadinejad took the reigns, but have doubled since then, increasing almost 4 percent in the past two years alone.

An official at the state-run House of Workers, Hassan Sadeqi, has told ILNA that both the regime’s Statistics Center and its Interior Ministry are trying their best to skew the figures even more by distorting and veiling the harsh realities of the embattled economy and the growing army of the unemployed.

Meanwhile, other regime officials deny unemployment in Iran altogether. Recently, a member of the regime’s Supreme Labor Council which sets policy around job creation and wages, told the state-run Mehr news agency recently, “Currently, we do not have any unemployed in our country and must instead focus on the definition of unemployment.”

Valiollah Salehi added, “Everyone starts some sort of work the moment they wake up and get out of bed in the morning.”

According to the other official at the regime’s House of Workers, about 5 million people among the labor force are currently unemployed. Even relying on these distorted figures, assuming that the average family has three members, unemployed breadwinners now reach up to 15 million people.

According to regime officials, the 15-29 year old age group is suffering the most from unemployment. The regime’s Statistics Center says the rate of unemployment stands at 26 percent for this age group.

Economic experts and even some of the clerical regime’s Majlis (Parliament) deputies have admitted that currently Iranian plants are running at less than 40% of their true capacity.

According to ILNA, for example, “The industrial town of Shams-Abad, which is the largest of its kind in the Middle East, has 850 plants, but only five of them run at full capacity.” That roughly equals 0.5 percent of the factories.

During Ahmadinejad’s first term, the Central Bank announced that banks have about 17 billion dollars worth of write offs on their books. Ahmadinejad’s government allocated bank loans to ostensibly spur job creation, but in reality, the regime’s officials took out the loans and either declared bankruptcy or fled the country with the money.

As a result, banks have an extremely reduced ability to give out lines of credit for the manufacturing sector. The government has a 50 billion dollar debt that has yet to pay back.

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