Electricity cables hanging from poles after people cut the resalable wires. Undated

Electricity cables hanging from poles after people cut the resalable wires.

Iranians Hit By Poverty Stealing Power Cables, Road Equipment


Iran is installing sensors and cameras on roadside electrical equipment to help catch anyone stealing power cables and lamps.

An official from Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization told ILNA Monday that theft of power cables and road equipment such as lamps and traffic signs had increased significantly.

Reza Akbari said that with most thieves on low incomes, heavy sentences were not possible, even though removing lights and signs threatened road safety. He added that thefts were happening both in provinces like Sistan-Baluchestan and Kerman with relatively light traffic and on roads just 50km from the capital Tehran.

The installation of GPS tracking devices on the most expensive equipment would enable the identification of major buyers of the stolen goods, Akbari said. Some had already been identified and referred to the judicial authorities, “unfortunately…[with] cases…in most of the provinces”.

With the purchasing power of Iranians in decline, shoplifting and burglaries have increased along with protests over working conditions and salaries. Food prices have jumped over 60 percent this year, following high inflation since the imposition of US ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions in 2018. Government figures show that prices for 83 percent of food staples have reached a level deemed ‘critical’ for those on broadly average wages.

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