Inflation in Iran reaches ‘brutal’ levels as protests rage over prices and wages

A butcher says he sometimes does not eat meat 'for up to a week' as prices soar

Iranians at the Grand Bazaar in the capital Tehran on June 13, 2022. AFP
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The price of chicken and milk in Iran has doubled from a month ago, while the price of cooking oil has quadrupled since May amid soaring inflation that has triggered weeks of protests.

Shop owners, teachers, pensioners and others have been taking to the streets to demand that pay and pensions are adjusted to match sharply rising prices.

US sanctions, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, a global food crisis caused in part by the Russian invasion of Ukraine are some of the factors contributing to the price increases.

Hundreds of people in cities across Iran are protesting against the government's decision to raise the prices of essential goods. AFP

“Latest Iranian inflation numbers are out, and they are brutal,” Henry Rome, an economist at the Eurasia Group risk consultancy, wrote on Twitter.

“Point-to-point has risen to 52.5 per cent (up from 39.3 per cent last month),” he said, citing figures released by the Iranian government.

President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, has vowed to bring inflation down to below 15 per cent by next year.

The World Bank puts annual inflation at 40.7 per cent and predicts that it will fall by only a few points in coming years.

Last week, Labour Minister Hojjatollah Abdolmaleki resigned after widespread criticism for poor handling of labour market and pension issues.

The riyal has lost about 60 per cent of its value since January 2020.

State media outlets such as Press TV are highlighting growth in Iran’s economy, such as the 4.1 per cent increase in GDP in the last quarter of 2021.

“Iranian oil sales have rebounded in recent months with authorities reporting increased exports to China and elsewhere since October,” Press TV reported this month.

But, Iranians such as Ali, a 50-year-old butcher, are not seeing any positive effects from this.

“You may not believe me, but sometimes I don’t eat meat for a week,” Ali told AFP.

“Everything has gone up in price,” he said.

Updated: June 23, 2022, 11:56 AM