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Iran's poorest citizens still waiting for some semblance of parity after 39 years

Iranian authorities need to muster the courage and will to tackle fundamental tax and subsidy reforms to remedy the gaping wealth inequality in the country.
An Iranian man counts banknotes after exchanging a gold coin for cash in Tehran on January 23, 2012. Gold coins were being exchanged for over 10,000,000 rials as the Iranian currency continued to lose value against the US dollar. Top European Union diplomats are meeting in Brussels to tighten existing sanctions on Iran by banning imports of Iranian crude as well as targeting finance, petrochemicals and gold to pressure the country. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

When the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran took place, its overriding objective was social justice achieved through helping the poor and ensuring political freedom. However, after almost four decades, the income of low-wage earners nationwide has plummeted as the wealthy have grown wealthier.

Comprehensive studies of the Iranian economy show that the income gap in Iran is significantly higher than in other nations that have successfully lowered their standing on the Gini index of household wealth distribution, the most commonly used measure of inequality. A survey presented in December at the Iranian Economy Conference in Tehran showed that people who earn the most (those in the 10th decile) spend 14 times more than the most underprivileged people (those in the first decile). This conclusion was based on monthly average per capita expenditures during Iran's fiscal year that ended March 20, 2017.

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