An Iranian lawmaker says about 20 million people are struggling with extreme poverty, meaning that about one-fourth of the country’s population are destitute.
Behruz Mohebbi-Najmabadi, a member of parliament’s budget committee, said on Wednesday that the high number of people suffering from absolute poverty is due to the Iran’s zero economic growth in the last decade.
He noted that the Gini coefficient that is used to measure wealth or income inequality is so high in the country as some people have become extremely rich. “There are a few million bank cards in Iran whose financial transactions is over $355,000”, he said.
Commenting on the government’s decision to stop providing cheap dollars for food imports, Najmabadi said that in such a case it would become necessary to provide food coupons to poor households so they can meet their minimum needs.
On Sunday, the parliament approved the broad outline of the budget eliminating the cheap dollars for food imports without any fallback plan to help millions in poverty.
Mehdi Asgari, another lawmaker warned, “Ten million families have fallen below the poverty line” and stopping the subsidy will bring about a shock for many who would not be able to afford even “bread and cheese” while Moeineddin Saeedi, another MP, said ordinary people will never be able to eat meet.