The talk on the street is chickens. They are 30% more expensive than last year, and that means ordinary Iranians can’t taste their tender flesh as often as they would like. The discontent caused by the ‘chicken crisis’ became so intense that earlier this month Iran’s police chief made an intervention. He urged broadcasters not to feature films showing people eating chickens because, ‘Certain people witnessing this class gap between the rich and the poor might grab a knife and think they will get their share from the wealthy."
Not surprisingly Iran’s comedians are having fun with cartoons of fathers protecting their children from images of naked chickens, and quips like - ‘There are two classes of people: below the chicken line and above the chicken line’. But after the jokes have been told, the price of chicken remains the same, putting into focus how hard life has become for ordinary Iranians battling with steep price rises in other basic goods, like bread, vegetables, and milk.
The price hike is mainly due to the sanctions. Chicken prices have shot up because Iran cannot import the necessary feed, not because it is too expensive, but because Iran is banned from the international trading systems that deal in dollars. Iran cannot pay in dollars. The view though of most economists is that the sanctions will not impact the overall health of the Iranian economy, which has massive foreign reserves, a trade surplus, and a low level of national debt. However, as with the failed sanctions policy against Iraq, sanctions will hurt ordinary Iranians.
Christians, whose incomes tend to be more susceptible, are certainly being hurt because of these price rises. They really cannot afford to buy the sort of food they were able to get last year. In these days of financial stress, Christians will be learning even more to look to their Father who supplies all our needs ‘in Christ Jesus’, and to be generous.
• Wisdom for officials responsible for the economy
• Wisdom for officials responsible for sanctions
• Christians to witness through generous giving to those in need