By: Hamideh Taati
Iran is among the richest countries in the world, with a wealth of mineral resources, oil, gas, and a diverse eco-system, but the majority of its people live under the poverty line. So what is the origin of this problem? Is it the United States’ sanctions on Iran? Or is it the Iranian regime’s incompetence. The root of the problem lies in the regime’s warmongering policies which leads the regime to plunder the Iranian nation’s wealth.
The Iranian regime’s inhumane policies have pushed the Iranian economy to the edge of destruction. The regime’s president Hassan Rouhani and his government are trying to cover up the economic crisis and portray the Iranian economy as a thriving and prosperous one. However, this won’t deceive the Iranian people, grappling with extreme poverty.
During the regime’s infighting, both factions admitted to Iran’s economic crisis and tried to shift the blame on their rivals.
On July 29, 2019, Mohsen Biglary, a member of the regime’s parliament, told a public session of parliament: “People’s backs are bent under the economic pressure. Farmers, employees, workers, scholars and many merchants in poor areas are living under the poverty line.”
Due to its institutionalized corruption, the Iranian regime has no solution to this problem.
The truth is that within the last five years the poverty index and the difference of social classes have increased. The Iranian regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) oligarchies control the country’s wealth and they have become 15 times richer than before; on the other hand, the majority of the Iranian society has gone under the poverty line, or as some of the regime’s authorities describe it, under the “death line.”
Despite this obvious fact, those in favor of the West’s policy of appeasement and buyers of cheap Iranian oil ignore the Iranian people’s deplorable condition.
The situation of Iranian citizens in the impoverished south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan is an example of the Iranian regime’s devastating economic policies. The state-media call this province “The end of the world.”
Conglomerate of mineral resources
Sistan-Baluchistan Province is one of the richest Iranian provinces in mineral resources. On June 13, 2019, the state-run Tabnak website wrote: “Sistan-Baluchistan Province, for its variety of mineral resources, is called the conglomerate of mineral resources of Iran. It has rich sources of gold, copper, ornamental stone, iron ore, placer mining, magnesium, antimony, and white granite.”
But in the Iranian regime, the “conglomerate of mineral resources” is plundered by the IRGC and the locals live under the ‘absolute poverty line.’
In a report published on June 17, 2019, the state-run Tasnim news agency, referred to an underprivileged village called Graki, in Sistan-Baluchistan Province. The report said: “This village suffers from a profound deprivation, with a population of 200 people and no infrastructures. Is has an auxiliary dirt road of 5kms…. The inhabitants have never seen a city and this place is literary the end of the world. People in this place don’t have an ID card or a registered identity, this makes their employment or even receiving medical care impossible.”
The dustiest Province of Iran
On September 14, In another report, the IRGC Quds Force-affiliated Tasnim wrote: “Sistan-Baluchistan is the dustiest province of Iran. In this month, at the center of 120-day-long winds, the city of Zabol had suffered so far from 28 days of dust storms, and some days the density of dust reached 3800 micrograms per one square meter, or 25 times plus the danger limit. The dust storms ravage this province at least six months a year.”
Hawa, a girl that became the victim of an alligator attack
Deplorable accidents in Sistan-Baluchistan, due to the authorities’ negligence with regards to the water crisis, is another noticeable issue.
“Children residing in the remote Sarbaz village in Sistan-Baluchistan went to the Sarbaz riverside to take some water, where they were attacked by an alligator. Hawa lost her hand. She was there along with her sister Asieh to wash her family’s clothes, as they do every day. Five days later, eight-year-old Zachariah was attacked by an alligator and his left leg was injured. Two years ago, another kid was killed by this creature,” the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency reported on July 28, 2019.
Drownings in a water hole
On May 29, 2019, in the remote village of Palan, in the city of Chabahar, two little girls who had gone to bring water from the potable water hole, fell in the hole and drowned. They were nine and 10 years old and 3rdgraders.
These holes in Baluchistan are called Hootak, and they are the only source of potable water. These Hootaks, often not purified, spread diseases and cause drownings.
On September 7, the state-run ISNA news-agency reported: “Within the last few years in Sistan-Baluchistan Province, over 20 children have either drowned in Hootaks or been killed by alligators.”
The poverty index
As the Parliament’s news agency reported on June 25: “Sistan-Baluchistan, with the poverty index of over 50 percent, is burning in the fire of poverty and misery.”
“The villagers of the remote Morki village in Baluchistan, have to go on a 90 km trip to reach a hospital in the village of Totan, which often has no doctor. Totan has 4,000 inhabitants. In Sistan-Baluchistan province, there are some 700,000 people who don’t have systematic access to water, 70,000 are without access to education, and 100,000 are without official identity, and there are 6,000 destructed hut classrooms.”
The Iranian regime’s warmongering policies and its institutionalized corruption leave nothing for the poor people of Iran. Forty years of the mullahs’ rule has caused nothing but devastation and destruction for the Iranian people.
The solution, therefore, as opposition leader Maryam Rajavi has pointed out, is the overthrow of this regime by the people of Iran and their organized resistance.
Hamideh Taati is a writer, philanthropist, and women rights activist. She has been a member of the Board of Editors for NCR-Iran.org 2006-present.