By Atousa Pilger
State-run ISNA news agency, reported that the Statistical Center of Iran’s information on inflation for the Persian month of Bahman (January 21- February 19), showed that all food prices have increased compared with the same month last year — even compared with the previous month.
The Statistical Center of Iran’s new numbers indicate that the highest price increase was for tomato paste with a 231.1% increase, followed by yellow apples with a 128% increase, tomatoes with a 127.9% increase, bananas which had gone up by 103.1%, and lamb meat which increased by 97.8%. As well, onions increased by 22.1%, and cucumbers increased by 21.3%.
The report displays the average price of lamb meat at around 80,000 tomans, beef and cattle at 72,000 tomans, poultry at 13,000 tomans, bananas at 12,600, and tomato paste at 18,600 tomans.
According to the latest figures calculated by Professor Steve Hanke, Applied Economist at John Hopkins University, Iran’s annual inflation is 212%.
Food is not the only commodity experiencing a rise in prices. Tasnim news agency announced today that city bus fares would also increase by 20% after March 16th. This is just a few days before the Nowruz holidays, and at a time when Iranians travel to visit family members.
Iran ranks 108 out of 149 countries in terms of social welfare. This is difficult to believe because Iran is also one of the most important mineral producers in the world. The country is ranked among 15 major mineral-rich countries, holding some 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tons of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tons of potential reserves worth $770 billion in 2014.
Still, Iranian workers are some of the most underpaid in the world, often only receiving $100 per month. According to Assistant Head of the East Azerbaijan Coordination Center for Islamic Labor Councils, this meets only 28% of a workers’ basic needs (i.e. shelter, food, clothing).The paychecks of Iran’s laborers, less than $100 a month, is one of the lowest in the world.
Iranian workers are not only seeing their purchasing power reduced significantly, but also see their wages delayed by months.“More than 14 million workers will enter the new year with 72% delayed paychecks,” Habib Sadeghzadeh Tabrizi said.
He added that a wage increase in the New Year could restore the livelihood conditions of workers, but said that the Regime is unlikely to increase the real-terms pay of the workers.