More than 13 percent of Iranians live under the poverty line, a government minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.
"Around 9.2 million people are living under the poverty line. That means 10.5 percent of people in cities and 11.0 percent in villages," Social Security and Welfare Minister Abdolreza Mesri said.
Iran's population is 70.4 million, according to the most recent census which was carried out last year.
The Sarmayeh newspaper quoted the minister as telling parliament's social affairs commission that two million of the poor live in extreme poverty, meaning that they earn less than 650,000 rials (70 dollars) a month.
Mesri's comments come amid increasing concern over rising prices in Iran, which have especially hit the worst-off and state employees on low incomes. Teachers, for example, earn less than 300 dollars a month.
Since Iranian New Year in March the prices of basic foodstuffs, especially fresh vegetables and poultry, as well as services such as taxis have jumped higher.
The central bank has forecast that inflation will reach 17 percent in the current Iranian year to March 2008, compared with an official rate of 13.5 percent last year.
In June, Iran's respected former prime minister Mir Hossein Moussavi made a rare public statement warning that increased poverty was threatening the basis of the Islamic republic.
A group of more than 50 prominent economists has twice written open letters to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warning that his high-spending policies risk fuelling inflation further.
Last Mod: 12 Ağustos 2007, 17:08