While Iranians are protesting rising prices and the government talks about cost savings, a group of over 40 officials are set to travel to Switzerland for a two-week online conference.
The group is mainly comprised of officials from the Ministry of Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare, including Minister Hojatollah Abdolmaleki himself, as well several members of parliament, local media reported.
The 110th Session of the International Labour Conference is scheduled to be held in Geneva from May 27 to June 11, which means the government is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of euros airfare and accommodation for the delegation apart from their per diems for an event that can be attended online.
Several cities across Iran are a scene of protests that began in the southwestern province of Khuzestan over a week ago triggered by a sudden jump in food prices, and have spread to other provinces.
The protests have quickly taken an anti-government tone and protesters often chant slogans against authorities, including the supreme leader, the president, and the ruling clerics. In some instances, protesters have attacked local headquarters of the Basij militia of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) whose members are often deployed to suppress protesters.
In larger cities such as the capital Tehran, Mashhad, Zanjan and Shiraz security forces have displayed a heavy presence on the streets, creating an atmosphere of fear and apprehension.