The Iranians are traditionally strongly class
conscious. The revolution partly changed the composition
of the upper class: the highest among the learned mules
received a special status, while many from the former
leadership, as well as from the well-educated middle
class, left the country or were executed.
Poverty is widespread, especially in rural areas.
About 10 percent of the population is estimated to live
in poverty. According to the measures used, the poverty
line is $ 6 a day for urban families and $ 4 a day for
rural families. But that was the situation before the
United States reintroduced its economic sanctions on
Iran (see Current Policy); The sanctions have led to an
increase in the number of Iranians living under scarce
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Iran, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
In Islam, it is important to help the poor, and there
is a functioning social protection network in Iran.
Basic goods are subsidized and the poorest are offered
cheap accommodation. There are also a wide range of
charitable foundations, bonyads (see Finance),
which provide assistance to the poor.
According to the constitution, the government is
obliged to provide all citizens with sickness,
unemployment and pension insurance, but the strength of
the social protection network in general varies
depending on the form of employment one has. Public
employees, for example, are entitled to sickness and
parental benefits and occupational injury insurance, but
many private employees lack such benefits.
Everyone has the right to basic health care, although
the quality varies. Newly graduated doctors are forced
to work in the countryside for a few years, thus the
number of doctors outside the big cities has increased.
Infant mortality has fallen and almost all children are
vaccinated. But there are still health problems, such as
malnutrition, especially in rural areas. The causes are
mainly lack of sanitary conditions, nutritional poor
diet and lack of clean drinking water. Overall, the
Iranians have been worse off and this is reflected in
their eating habits. Today, Iranians eat less meat than
in the mid-1990s. Consumption of rice and bread has also
When the United States, under President Trump,
reintroduced sanctions on Iran, imports of medicines and
medical equipment were exempted, but in practice there
was still a shortage of certain medicines. Financial
operators such as banks dare not make payments from Iran
for fear of being punished by the US. The political
lock-ups also contributed to a late response by the
authorities in 2020, when Iran was the first country
after China where the dreaded new corona virus was
spreading. The regime in Tehran, which is happy to
organize mass meetings to show popular support, delayed
precautionary measures to combat the infection.
In the 19th century, opium was an export commodity
and the cultivation of poppy increased since it was
nationalized in 1928. Some of the exports remained legal
when opium from Iran was sold to the pharmaceutical
industry. But at the same time, addiction increased.
Today, harsh penalties, including the death penalty, are
applied to drug trafficking, but extensive smuggling
from Afghanistan has led to the number of abusers of
opium products, according to the UN, growing rapidly.
The UN organization UNODC, which bases its reporting on
state statistics, stated by 2020 that at least 2.26
percent of the population regularly uses opium and that
it has also led to the use of more dangerous opiate
forms (heroin). Other drugs such as amphetamines have
also increased. The abuse of drugs has also contributed
to the spread of HIV / AIDS immunodeficiency disease.
For the upper and middle class formed, the Islamic
revolution became a shocking experience, even for those
who did not support the Shah's regime. The "storm
troops" of the religious leaders, the Revolutionary
Guards and the Basij militia, were considered to be made
up of people who had the lowest status in the old
system, ie poor, uneducated and petty criminals. Now
they would take revenge and take power.
Today, the Revolutionary Guard's leadership sits at
the top of the power pyramid along with the highest
spiritual leader and other conservative scribes.
Traditional religiosity is generally strongest in the
countryside and among the urban poor, and they reverence
the new religious masters. The middle class and most
young people in the cities do not take religious rituals
very seriously, and the conflicts of recent years
between fundamentalists and more secular Iranians, who
long for another, more "western" life, have sharpened
Social mobility has been great, among other things
when many young people from the lower classes were given
the opportunity to study and raise their status, at best
by obtaining "right" contacts and even getting married
in a higher class. But despite all the changes, it is
wealth, high education with a status job and belonging
to a famous family or clan that still gives the highest
Iran is a distinctly male society where woman is
subordinate to man. The woman does not have the same
legal rights as the man and she is not considered
worthy. For example, a woman's testimony is only half as
much as a man's testimony, and the same distribution
applies to succession law. These rules are found in the
Qur'an (and, at the advent of the Qur'an, probably meant
an improvement for the woman compared to the pre-Islamic
society). To apply for a passport, a woman must have
permission from her father, husband or other relative.
Girls must wear a veil from the age of nine; often a
solid black chador. Young unmarried girls may have to be
examined to determine if they are innocents. Abortion is
only allowed if the mother's life is in danger or the
fetus is malformed.
Men who want to divorce need not state reasons. Women
now have the right to differ if the man is an alcoholic
or drug abuser. Previously, she had to differ only if
the man was impotent, severely mentally ill or unable to
support the family. Men and women who want to have a
sexual relationship can enter into temporary marriage,
which can be interrupted after a few days. The woman has
custody of her children up to the age of seven, then the
custody passes to the father. She does not have the
legal right to visit her older children after divorce.
Honor killings occur, especially among nomads. But
the crimes are not accepted by society and are seen as
crimes against Islam. The country's highest spiritual
leader Ayatollah Khamenei has condemned honor killings.
In 2020, a case in Iranian media highlighted a case
where a father murdered his teenage daughter, and angry
voices highlighted the dubiousness that such a murder
could be followed by less lenient punishment than a
murder in other circumstances.
The woman's position improved during Khatami's time
as president (1997-2005). More women work professionally
and more work in politics and administration. More women
than men are now admitted to the country's universities
and more and more lawyers, doctors and teachers are
women. At the same time, freedom and rights are limited.
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate 2003, went into exile after
being banned from working as a lawyer. Several other
women have received similar prohibitions.
In the family, the father / husband is the obvious
head who expects obedience and respect from the others.
At the same time, it is his duty to provide for them and
meet their spiritual, social and material needs.
However, this traditional role has faced conflicts,
especially in Tehran, where young people who have become
either extremely religious or secular find it difficult
to submit to their father's demands for obedience.
Large families with at least three generations,
cousins and other relatives exist, especially in the
countryside. The elderly are shown respect.
The Islamic revolution was followed by a baby boom
and then by a child restraint program that has received
international acclaim. But in 2020, the government
warned that low birth rates could soon lead to
population decline. Government policy has therefore been
revised once again to encourage childbirth. State
hospitals no longer have to sterilize men or provide
women with contraceptives for free. Critics point out
that households with good finances will be able to
afford how many children they want anyway.
Regardless of age, unmarried children usually stay at
home. Marriage within the family, for example between
cousins, exists and is seen as a practical solution both
financially and socially. Most men prefer a single wife,
although a Muslim may have up to four.
Child labor exists but is not a widespread problem.
The marriage age for girls has been raised from 9 to 13
years. For boys, 15 years are valid. Thousands of young
girls escape from home each year, many of whom end up in
prostitution. In Tehran, it is estimated that there are
a few hundred brothels. Although prostitution is
prohibited by law, it has increased and prostitutes are
ever younger. In part, this is because increased poverty
has hit women hard.
In principle, unmarried young people are not allowed
to spend time with the opposite sex; if that happens it
can be severely punished. However, many young people in
Tehran defy this and seek themselves on the weekends to
the mountains north of the city where they can socialize
without much risk of transparency. Both sons and
daughters are encouraged by their parents to study,
which means that most marriages later than before.
The view of gays is strict. Under Islamic law,
certain sexual acts are to be severely punished, but in
practice several witnesses are required or the parties
acknowledge. All forms of sex outside of marriage are
criminal and same-sex sex is subject to the death
penalty. At the time, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in
an emphatic statement in 2007, claimed that there were
no gays in Iran.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
12 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
94.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
88.4 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
7.6 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 415 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
6 percent (2018)
Russian nuclear fuel is delivered
Russia supplies nuclear fuel to the nuclear power plant in Bushehr. The power
plant is civil and is monitored by the IAEA.
"Nuclear Threat Exaggerated"
An American intelligence report fades down the Iranian nuclear threat. The 16
security services report in a joint report that Iran is likely to suspend its
nuclear weapons program as early as 2003.
Negotiation manager resigns
Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani resigns, probably following a schism
with the president.
The United States is facing a series of new sanctions.
"3,000 nuclear centrifuges"
Ahmadinejad says Iran has 3,000 nuclear centrifuges.
Reconcilable gesture against the IAEA
Iran agrees to allow IAEA inspectors to enter Arak nuclear facility.
Gasoline is rationed
The government is preparing for gasoline rezoning for a possible UN decision
on new sanctions.
The IAEA fears Iranian nuclear weapons soon
The IAEA estimates that Iran can develop nuclear weapons within three to
IAEA Alarm for Nuclear Fuel Manufacturing
The IAEA says Iran has started producing nuclear fuel in an underground
uranium enrichment plant. More than 1,300 centrifuges are in operation according
to the UN agency.
Brits are released
The British soldiers arrested in March are released.
The president boasts about nuclear fuel
Ahmadinejad says Iran can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
Sanctions against banks and companies
The UN Security Council bans cooperation with the Iranian state bank Sepah
and companies linked to the Revolutionary Guard.
British soldiers are arrested
Iran seizes 15 British flotists and naval troops who patrol the waters
between Iran and Iraq.
Parliamentary criticism of the president
150 members of parliament accuse President Ahmadinejad of exacerbating Iran's
economic crisis through his aggressive policy towards the western world.