Tehran Mayor Alireza Zakani (R) and his financial deputy Lotfollah Forouzandeh

Tehran Mayor Pays Extra Salaries Amid His Presidential Run

Monday, 06/17/2024

Tehran Municipality has disbursed 250 million rials ($400) for "arrears salaries" of each employee as presidential candidate Alireza Zakani, the city mayor, bids to win the public's support.

Deputy mayor Majid Bagheri praised the payment as "unprecedented support for colleagues' livelihood," during the intense campaigning by presidential candidates for the snap election on June 28, triggered by the unexpected death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

However the action is seen simply as a financial reward to sway votes for the June 28 presidential election.

In reality, it will make little difference to the 140,000 employees who will receive $400 at a time when one third or more of Iranians now live below the poverty line. But the amount is substantial for most employees who make around $200 a month.

Bagheri emphasized the historic nature of the piecemeal salary reform within the municipality, marking it as a first in its history while many in the city are facing record levels of unemployment.

Zakani earlier sparked controversy by appointing his deputy for financial affairs, Lotfollah Forouzandeh, as the head of his campaign team.

Despite such moves and various promises from the six contenders in the race, voter turnout is expected to remain low, mirroring the dismal participation seen in the last parliamentary elections in March.

The public's growing skepticism towards political promises and the effectiveness of such pre-election strategies are telling of the broader discontent and political fatigue among the electorate.

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