Soaring bread prices sound alarm at Friday prayers across Iran
Dozens of Friday prayer imams in Iran have urged the government to address economic issues, saying people are suffering under the pressure of rising prices.
Some clerics and paramilitary organizations have warned that the sudden rise in the price of items such as bread could lead to protests and riots.
Meanwhile, journalists in Tehran reported on Twitter on Friday that the price of bread had risen almost fivefold in Tehran despite claims by economic officials that higher flour prices would not affect traditional bread purchased from neighborhood bakeries and the increase would be limited to baguettes and other Western-style bread rolls.
Tehran’s Friday Prayer Imam, Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi Fard, said in his sermon that the government should focus its efforts on improving the nation’s livelihood. He called on the government to explain the reasons for the recent price hikes and to make sure people understand that the government is trying to offset the rising cost of living by introducing economic reform.
During Tuesday’s Eid al-Fitr sermons, other clerics, including instigator Ahmad Khatami, promised that the economic situation would improve, but did not specify how. Kazem Seddiqi, another cleric in Tehran, was also worried about the consequences of rising prices.
On Friday, the imams of cities such as Dayyer, Bojnourd, Zahedan, Shar-e Kord, Bushehr, Kermanshah, as well as many other cities warned the government that the population was suffering from the rising prices of bread and other products of first necessity.
Traditional Iranian flatbreads in a bakery in Tehran.
In Tehran, the commander of the student militia Basij of the IRGC warned President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday that the situation could lead to a major riot in the country. Meanwhile, prominent reformist cleric Mohammad Taqi Fazel Maybodi also warned Raisi that “if rising prices go unchecked, Iran should wait for riots more dangerous than a revolution.”
On Friday, social media users in Iran shifted from complaints about the scarcity and high price of pasta to more serious complaints and warnings about the possible impact of rising prices for all kinds of bread in Tehran.
Somaye Naghi, a business reporter in Tehran, wrote that they had sent someone from the newspaper office to buy traditional stone-baked bread called Sangak, but were told the price had gone up from 60,000 rials to 250,000. rials ($1) per loaf. She pointed out that this comes as Raisi’s agriculture minister had promised the day before that the price of traditional bread would not rise and that it would impact “luxury Western-style” buns.
Meanwhile, many Iranian journalists have interpreted Vice President for Executive Affairs Solar Mortazavi’s firm defense of cutting the government’s cheap dollars to import essentials, including flour, as a sign that the conditions of lives of workers, teachers, pensioners and low wages will deteriorate dramatically.
The government has resorted to bread rationing in some towns and the general perception is that the practice is going to be widely introduced across the country. Journalist Ameneh Mousavi wrote on Twitter that rationing has started in Zanjan.
None of the clerics who spoke about the rise in the price of bread on Friday spoke about the impact of the sanctions, apparently because they are struggling to explain why the country is under sanctions and why Iranian officials cannot negotiate. with the United States to lift the sanctions. They fear it will offend Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is responsible for major decisions, including talks with the United States.