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Essential Goods' Prices To Drop Next Week, Minister Promises

Iran-- New candidate for Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade, Alireza Razm Hosseini, introduced to Parlaiment, undated.
Iran-- New candidate for Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade, Alireza Razm Hosseini, introduced to Parlaiment, undated.

Hours after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented on the high cost of goods in Iran, the newly appointed Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade (MIMT), Alireza Razm Hosseini, claimed that the prices of essential goods in the country "will change significantly next week."

Referring to the people's economic situation in Iran, Khamenei said on Tuesday that "many of the current economic problems are not related to [the U.S.] sanctions."

He called the high price of products including meat, poultry, tomatoes, and baby diapers "unjustified and unwarranted," adding, "All these soaring prices and issues can be addressed with the coordination of different departments. Such hurdles must be removed from the people's path."

Following the exponential trend of poultry prices in recent months in Iran, one kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of chicken sold at retail shops a week ago for 260,000 rials (approximately $6.18, at the official rate).

Immediately after Khamenei's remarks, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Fars news agency reported that several government officials, including two Ministers, convened an "extraordinary meeting" at the market regulation headquarters and promised "significant changes in the market in the short term."

"There is no doubt that with the decisions made at the meeting, we will have significant changes in the prices of essential goods next week," Hosseini said.

Kazem Khavazi, ‌Minister of Agriculture Jihad, also said, "In line with the leadership's speech today, the Ministries of Industry, Mines and Trade, Agriculture Jihad, Central Bank of Iran (CBI), and the Islamic Republic's Customs succeeded to become very well coordinated. The Economic Coordination Headquarters also passed very crucial resolutions."

However, none of the Ministers explained that, while Iran's people have long complained about unaffordable prices, why such decisions had not been made earlier.

Tajrish Bazar in Tehran, April 2, 2020
Tajrish Bazar in Tehran, April 2, 2020

Apparently, the two ministers "hope" that following the Supreme Leader's intervention, the prices of essential commodities, primarily white and red meat, will drop next week.

Over two years have passed since Iranians were saddled with skyrocketing prices when Washington re-imposed batches of devastating economic sanctions on the country, and the value of the Iranian national currency, the rial, dropped sharply against the dollar.

The nosediving rial and soaring prices have led to widespread criticism among the experts and members of the Iranian Majlis parliament.

On Tuesday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei also spoke of "making decisions to reduce the pressure on people's daily lives," but did not elaborate.

Earlier, Khamenei had called for domestic solutions to the country's problems, ordering Iranian officials to focus on local issues.

"Even though many of our problems are related to outside of the country, the cure is domestic. We must not search for the cure outside of the country because we do not see any good or benefit from abroad," Khamenei said on October 12.

Khamenei's remarks echoed President Hassan Rouhani's fundamentalist critics who have repeatedly accused him of "looking outwards" and waiting for foreign events such as the outcome of the U.S. presidential election to solve Iran's economic problems.