A principalist MP for Tehran has warned of “great social uprisings” in Iran in the coming year because of rising costs of living and non-investment in public services. Ahmad Naderi was speaking in reaction to the Raisi administration’s controversial proposed budget for 2022-23, which allocates a relatively small amount to social services compared to large, unaccountable bodies like the IRGC and seminaries.
The government, Naderi claimed, had also “made a mistake” on the important issue of preferential foreign currency rates. “When we look at next year's budget bill,” he said, “we see that in some places, the strategy is not right. I warn you that if this approach continues, we will end up seeing great social uprisings in 2022-2023."
The government under Ebrahim Raisi has set the IRGC’s budget at 92.8 trillion tomans, an increase of 142 percent on last year. Iran’s seminaries are due to see their budget increase by 62 percent to 4.6 trillion tomans.
The seminary’s budget is split between the Supreme Council of Seminaries, the Khorasan-based Seminary Management Planning Council, and the Seminary Service Center. The Center’s budget alone (2.8 trillion tomans) is 22 percent more than the total amount of money allocated to Iran’s Department of Environment.
Other new allocations have given a fresh indication of the Raisi administration’s priorities. More than 600 billion is to be given to the Ministry of Interior, ringfenced for “monitoring the establishment of public order and internal security, and holding elections." Given that there are no elections next year, it can probably be concluded that this money is intended for countering any further possible unrest.
Taghi Rostamvandi, deputy interior minister and head of the Social Affairs Organization, an arm of the Interior Ministry, also recently warned that Iranian people’s “resilience” was waning in the face of widespread desire for fundamental change. The level of public distrust in a religious government’s capability to tackle real-world challenges, he said, ought to be a “wake-up call”.