Bread Crisis In Iranian Cities; Long Lines, Closed Bakeries, Bread Black Market
A few days after Iranian media reported long lines in Urmia bakeries in northwestern Iran, news sources have reported that the bread shortage has reached several other cities including Tabriz, Ardebil, Mashhad, and Zabol.
The shortage of bread in the city of Urmia was first reported last week by Islamic Republic’s Mehr news agency, stating that the bread lines at the bakeries are getting longer each day and “people are angrily demanding bread”.
The authorities in West Azarbaijan province, where Urmia is located, have denied the bread crisis and say the bread distribution is in normal condition.
But another official news agency in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, announced on Monday that the price of flour increased by over 70 percent in the past 10 days, and many partly-subsidized bakeries have shut down or reduced work hours.
The chairman of the bakers’ union of Mashhad said: “Despite all the difficulties, partially-subsidized bakeries could get some flour with a suitable price on the market until 10 days ago, but in the past 10 days, the price of flour increased unexpectedly.”
Iran's economic vows have worsened in the last two years as US sanctions have blocked its oil exports, the main revenue for the government, which relying on petrodollars subsidizes bread, fuel and other necessities.
Another news source from Tabriz city reported long lines in front of the bakeries in recent days and said people are worried about high prices or bread shortage.
According to this news agency, people in Tabriz are so concerned with bread that some in social media are now selling bread at double the price of the bakeries.
In Zabol city in Sistan and Baluchistan province, another news agency reported extremely high flour price and rumors of bread shortages in traditional bakeries in recent days.
One traditional baker in Zabol told the news agency that due to the high price of flour he can no longer sell bread at the old prices.
Zabol Governor Gholamreza Ganji also reported that the bakeries in the city have decided to shut down due to the high prices of ingredients.
According to videos and reports on social media, cities like Bukan, Saqqiz, Shahin Dej, Sardasht, and Miandoin have also faced bread shortages in recent days.
Some Iranians on social media reported bakeries closing down at 10:00 am. One user tweeted: “A single bread in some bakeries in Ardebil is 25,000 rials.” This is less than ten cents and is cheap compared to other countries, but the monthly income of a wage earner is barely $100.
Meanwhile, ILNA (Iranian Labor News Agency) published a report on the crisis and insecurity in the economic and sanitary conditions of bakeries and the government’s negligence in providing financial and medical support for the bakeries.