Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Persian Letters

Iran's Police Chief Rails Against TV Images Of People...Eating Chicken

Iranians wait to buy chicken outside a butcher shop in Shiraz in July.
Iranians wait to buy chicken outside a butcher shop in Shiraz in July.
Chickens and their rising cost could soon join the list of censored topics in Iran.

Over the weekend, police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam criticized state-controlled television for broadcasting images of people eating chicken. He suggested such footage could spur the underprivileged to revolt against affluent Iranians.

“Films are now the vitrine of the society, and some individuals witnessing this class gap might say, ‘We will take knives and take our rights from the rich,'” Ahmadi Moghadam warned during a July 14 press conference by law-enforcement officials.

In Iran, the government fixes the price of chicken at a point lower than the market rate, which has risen by some 60 percent since last year, presumably as a result of inflation and unprecedented tough Western sanctions imposed on Tehran for its controversial nuclear program. Nowadays Iranians pay as much as $5 for a kilogram of chicken. Pre-sanctions prices hovered around $2.

Long lines of people waiting to buy the government discounted chicken is now a common sight in Iranian cities, and people have been known to stand in queues for more than 14 hours in high summer temperatures.

What some Iranian media have taken to calling the “chicken crisis” is being blamed on delays in chicken-feed imports caused by the sanctions.

WATCH: Amateur video reportedly shows Iranians running into a state cooperative to buy chicken at lower price:

The tough situation is another indication of the plight of ordinary Iranians in the face of sanctions and Iranian officials' mismanagement of the economy.

One Tehran man told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that many people expect tougher days ahead.

“We have given up on buying chicken," he said. "[Iranian leaders] have created so much poverty that we can barely buy potatoes. This year chicken is banned from films, six months later potatoes will be banned in films, and by next year there won’t be any bread.”

On July 16, the head of the central Tehran branch of Iran's Islamic Azad University, Ferdows Hajian, announced a one-day chicken boycott in protest against the rising cost of the meat.

"The Central Tehran Branch of the Islamic Azad University symbolically will not buy chicken and meat on Tuesday [17 July] due to high prices and as a way of supporting the government and the people," Iran’s student agency ISNA quoted Hajian as saying.

Hajian blamed the rising prices on middlemen looking to make a profit.

Iranian officials have so far not offered any concrete solution to the soaring prices of food staples. Their method of choice for now seems to be censorship.

Last week, Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini warned the media against publishing reports on the impact of Western sanctions. "The situation regarding sanctions and other pressures, especially in economy ... requires more cooperation by the media so the country is not hurt," Hosseini said, adding that Iran is not in a position to allow reporting that is not compatible with the country’s national interests.

The warning by Hosseini and Ahmadi Moghadam came after the EU activated an embargo on Iran’s key oil industry on July 1.

In response to the censorship efforts, some Iranians have begun posting images and cartoons of chickens on social media.

Arash Ashourinia, a well-known Iranian photographer, updated his photo blog with several photos of chicken dishes, explaining that he decided to post the photos before their publishing would be banned in Iran.

Vahid online, a prominent Internet activist, wrote sarcastically on Facebook that in the future movies on Iran’s state television will include a warning: "This program contains images of cooked chicken."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Sey from: World
July 17, 2012 02:13
The ironies of life, huh? In Iran people want chickens, but they don't have the money. In Uzbekistan, people want money, but some are given chickens.


by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 17, 2012 04:33
Lucky Iranians - they can get chicken at low prices in state cooperatives. Poor people in Greece, Spain or Portugal - where the state apparatus has been hijacked by the capitalist oligarchy of banksters, that works on orders from Berlin and Washington - have to look for food in garbage-cans on the street.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 17, 2012 15:17
And in other news, the West is still going broke. Cheers from Vienna!!! :-))))
In Response

by: 55North from: Newcastle upon Tyne
July 18, 2012 04:57
Eugenio, the poor in Greece can have as much chicken as they can handle. But they must pay with their own money, not Austria's.

I suspect the chicken's not free-range anyway.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 18, 2012 08:51
To 55North: you are saying: the Greeks "must pay with their own money". A very good point, 55North, there is just only one little thing that makes me kind of wonder: why is it that - after having spent 30 years as an EU member state - Greece has ever more poor people who just do not have any money to buy chicken or anything else? After all, when countries join the EU, the Eurocrats promise them a 1000 years of happy rich life - that was kind of supposed to be the MAJOR AIM of joining the EU, wasn't it?
Or did I get something wrong here: maybe when countries join the EU, the Eurocrats promise that these countries would go bankrupt 25-30 years after the accession?

by: Kaveh from: Isfahan
July 18, 2012 23:41
This propaganda piece is probably a bad translation and a cultural misunderstanding. In Middle Eastern societies demonstrating affluence is a bad act, so the Muslim Iranian official was trying to say that movie makers must take into consideration that there are poor people in the country and they might see it as an act of low morals.

the sad thing is that the author can barely hide her happiness of chicken crisis of ordinary people in Iran due to her opposition to the Islamic system in Iran, the Iranian exile community has deep seated inferiority complex and a hatred for their people who choose to live by Islam and kicked out British backed monarchy. You guys will be leaving in LA and Paris for a long time, enjoy it :-)
In Response

by: S
July 19, 2012 18:10
Kaveh you have it completely wrong. The few people in Iran that want the country to be an Islamic Republic have a deep hatred for the majority of the population that do not want to live by Islam.
In Response

by: Kaveh from: Isfahan
July 20, 2012 14:01
sounds like an LA Iranian who left in 1980 or someone who lives in a buble of wealth in North Tehran and rarely speaks with people who hold alternative views.
In Response

by: Iranie from: Somewhere
July 22, 2012 03:19
Kaveh, there are a lot of people who dont agree with the way the government treats people who are pious working class people who live inside of Iran. I resent your notion that just becs people have worked hard and have some money, that immediately means that they no longer are in touch with the Iranian society. I am tiered of being told what to think, what to eat, what to watch, what to wear, how to interpret Islam, the arresting of reformists clerics and intellectuals, university lecturers, arresting and torturing student activists, indefinite detention without trials....and the list goes on. Why have intellectual muslims like Mojtahed Mohammed Shabestarie and many like him been sidelined, why cannt there be debate about the role of Islam in government and the role of clerics in our society? These are not just questions of expat Iranians but many Iranians inside Iran. Our entire country is nothing but a military junta at the moment completely hijacked by extremists. I dont care what plans they have with regards to their foreign policy, but why do they have to constantly suffocate the people on the inside? I just want there to be debate, and not just a small group of elite sitting at the top saying "Don't dare question me as I represent God"....that is the ultimate form of dictatorship, no human should be beyond scrutiny/judgment and ethical evaluation. The Islam that our Sufi/mystic intellectuals such as Omar Khayyam teach us is nothing like the Islam we have today in Iran, that is Islam that I would accept. So please dont dismiss anyone who disagrees with the current regime as traitors or fat rich Tehranies because that only makes you look ignorant and out of touch....

by: pirooz from: philipin
July 20, 2012 05:09
as an iranian who is aware of all problems in iran i should say that it doesnt make any differences for people who eat expensive food or take costly energy , the thing which is important that they just want to live and be survived until they see who is that angel who salvages them , then such propaganda and so on will not spur them unless they want the changes .

by: Anonymous
August 04, 2012 17:34
as an and iranian i am shaming of have a very vicious rulers, were we where before and where we heading now . tyrants of our time .

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org