Some 7 million people in Iran live in absolute poverty – labor minister

Society Materials 28 October 2014 14:30 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.28

By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

Some 7 million people in Iran are living in absolute poverty and their food security is at risk, Iranian labor minister Ali Rabiei said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on October 28.

Rabiei said within the framework of the subsidy reform plan, seven million people have been identified who suffer from absolute poverty.

Meanwhile, 5-6 million people have been identified that are as wealthy as rich people in the United States, he added.

Poverty in urban areas has been increasing since 2004, except for 2007, he noted.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in May that poverty and discrimination should be uprooted in the Islamic Republic. He stressed importance of activating domestic potentials for resolving people's economic problems and improving their livelihoods.

In March, Iranian MP Mousarreza Servati said that some 15 million of Iranian population live below the poverty line.

In February, the government began distributing food packages to help low-income Iranians. But bad planning caused it to go wrong, and the administration was seriously criticized on the issue.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that the administration will pay attention to ensuring food security for the people, saying that food package subsidies will be delivered to people, along with the cash subsidies.

The administration pays 455,000 rials (about $14) to Iranians based on the country's subsidy reform plan.

Iran's subsidy reform plan is aimed at easing the pressure on state finances by cutting tens of billions of dollars from government subsidies on food and fuel. The government pays cash to citizens as compensation for increased prices by cutting subsides.