Hassan Rouhani was “elected” as the President on June 15, 2013.According to reports published by Iranian regime officials and by domestic and international media, the economic, political and social situations have all deteriorated in Iran during the past year, under Hassan Rouhani’s government. Of course, official data in Iran is very often tinged with propaganda, and the crises facing the regime are much more extensive than has been reported domestically. Nevertheless, the regime’s press provides an introductory look at these issues. In a series of special reports we will examine his record from various aspects:
A. Economic crises
The World Economic Forum evaluated 100 economic indicators for 148 countries across the globe for its 2013-2014 report. Iran ranked last in extent of foreign ownership and bank loan facilitation, and second to last on trade price lists and customs expenses. Iranian media has carried various data that help to partly explain this situation.
1. Inflation and unemployment
Iran is suffering through an unprecedented recession. Etemad Daily, on 12 Feb 2014, quoted regime officials as saying, “The current recession is unprecedented in the past 70 years.” The International Monetary Fund ranked Iran first in the world for inflation in 2013.
Reports published by the regime place official inflation at 40% and unemployment at 13%, but international sources give much higher figures.
In May, former Iranian MP, Mostafa Kavakabian said 11 million people were unemployed in Iran. The size of the Iranian workforce is estimated at about 27 million people, meaning that Kavakabian’s figure translates to 40% unemployment.
Mardom Salari Daily also reported on the employment crisis among university graduates. On 10 March 2014 it said that out of a total 10.3 million graduates, 3.9 million were employed, 1 million were unemployed and 5.3 million were economically inactive (neither employed nor non-employed). “Therefore,” the report concluded, “one can say to this day 50% of all those graduating from college have practically not entered the country’s economic cycle.”
In the 4 May 2014 issue of Etemad Daily, Mousavi Lari, Iran’s minister of interior during Khatami’s tenure, was quoted as saying, “It is said that 63% of the people have announced their income at 6 million rials a month, and 16% have said it is 8 million rials a month, and a very low percentage is actually above 10 million rials a month.”
In a debate aired on 23 May 2014, Alireza Mahjoub said, “The latest data from the Ministry of Trade, Work and Social Welfare shows the absolute poverty line from March 2013 to March 2014 in urban areas reached 9.2 million rials and in the villages it has reached around 7 million rials a month.” Therefore, around 79% of the Iranian people are living under the absolute poverty line.
Each year 7.5% of the population, or around 5 million Iranians, drop below the poverty line due to increasing prices of daily goods. Furthermore, due to high education costs, the number of working class children and homeless children has increased as well, reaching 3.5 million this year.
3. Increasing prices:
In Ebtekar Daily on 14 Jan 2014, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Road & Construction said, “From March to October 2013, the average price of buying and selling one square meter of a residential site in Tehran has increased by 54.3% in comparison to the same period last year, reaching 377 million rials.”
The following graphs show the recent increases in the prices of specific commodities.
Differences in prices of essential goods (From the start of eliminating targeted subsidies to this day)
|Name||Price (March 2011)||Price (May 2014)|
|Rationed gasoline||4,000 rials||7,000 rials|
|Open market gasoline||7,000 rials||10,000 rials|
|Increase in price of various daily necessities|
|Type||Price (March 2011)||Price (May 2014)|
|Household gas (cubic meter)||700 rials||970 rials|
|Water (cubic meter)||2,550 rials||3,200 rials|
|Electricity (kW/h)||430 rials||500 rials|
The Director General of the Oil Refinery and Distribution National Company was quoted by Resalat Daily in March 2014. He said, “This year an average of around 10 million liters of gasoline was imported into the country and in comparison to last year the amount of imported gasoline has tripled.”