Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 15:25 UK

Coping with Iran's rising prices

Four young Iranians have written to BBCPersian.com about the rising cost of living - and food prices - in Tehran.

HESAMMODIN

The price of dairy products has gone up gradually over the last few months, but last week it suddenly soared by 15%.

The same inflation can be seen on the prices of tinned food, tea and bread.

Tehran food shopping
Queueing for subsidised food in Tehran

I think people should boycott these products in protest and make the producers price their products more logically.

Another problem is the rumours. When someone says the price of tea will go up, people rush to the shops and buy all the tea they can - and this leads to inflation in the tea market.

By the way, due to high oil income, the situation in Iran is much better than in other countries, but I do not know what will happen if the price of oil falls for any reason.

VAHID

My wife and I both work. We got married 12 years ago but we decided not to have a child until we owned our own home.

We saved for 11 years to buy a small flat. It was during incredible house price inflation, so we could only pay for half of the house, the rest we got on a mortgage.

The price of rice and meat has tripled in one or two months

The monthly mortgage payment is now nearly as much as our joint monthly salary and we should be paying the loan back for the next 10 years.

So, we have moved to my parents' little flat. They are old and we have a child and you know what problems can arise when too many people live in a small space.

After we've paid the mortgage, we only have about $US 150 left. No one can live on this in an expensive city like Tehran.

The price of rice - the main food of Iranians - and meat has tripled in one or two months.

Dairy products have become more expensive: each pack of yoghurt is now 9000 Rials ($0.99), as opposed to 5250 Rials ($0.58) two months ago. We now buy subsidised milk and make our yoghurt at home.

We used to buy tea for 36,000 Rials ($3.95) a pack last year but now it's 55,000 Rials ($6.03). Subsided milk was 2,000 Rials ($0.22) and it's now 2,500 ($0.27) and it's rumoured that it might go up again.

But thank God we are still healthy and we don't have to pay for doctors and medicine.


Are we really living, or are we just alive?

FARAMARZ NAGHIBI

High inflation is definitely not a good thing. It means your income and your expenses don't match and people struggle to make both ends meet.

But maybe we can look at this in a different way: it has made the consumerist Iranian society change its behaviour!

Many of us don't see the value of some food items because they are very cheap.

For example, bread is a staple, but many people throw away a lot of bread after each meal without noticing that in some parts of the world, that's all they have!

Another example is the food that is thrown out after parties.

The recent high prices are very difficult to cope with, but the only positive aspect is that it might make people start to buy only the food they need - and change their bad consumerist habits.

SAID

I was fortunate enough to get hired by one of Iran's state companies and to receive a standard salary, but I don't predict a bright future for myself.

I am engaged to be married, but I cannot afford the wedding.

Rising rent prices are another reason for us postponing our wedding. I dread being ashamed in front of my future wife because of being unable to afford the expense.

We used to eat meat several times a week - and fish and chicken were also common ingredients. But now we only eat meat twice a week. My mother now uses soya mince instead of minced meat sometimes.

Two months ago we used to buy lamb for 60,000 Rials ($6.57) per kilo but now is 80,000 Rials ($8.76).

Each flat round bread of Lavash [type of Iranian bread] used to be 140 Rials ($0.02) and it's now 200 Rials.

My mother and father have stored lots of food and detergents in our basement in case they start running out. Our basement looks like a supermarket now!

I don't know how long we can cope with this situation.




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