Fight the economic crisis with a “grave fee”? In Iran, this is to be put into practice. But this meets with resistance and provokes criticism
The planned introduction of “digging fees” for millions of graves in the Iranian capital, Tehran, has sparked outrage in the local press and social media.
For the critics, it is unacceptable that the dead and their surviving dependents have to pay such a fee to compensate for the inability of those responsible to get the financial crisis under control. In addition, the system should respect the dead and not fill its empty coffers with them, according to the critics. It is also feared that the unpaid graves could soon be resold by the city administration and that many people could be deprived of their final resting place.
The so controversially discussed “grave fee” of the Tehran city administration is to be implemented in the capital in the next Persian year – from March 21, 2023. The new fee is a new source of income for the city administration in order to combat the acute economic crisis in the country. According to media reports, the fee is the equivalent of only 4 euros per year, but critics are fundamentally disturbed by the charging of such a fee.
So far, the Iranians have had to pay a sum of between 150 and 1,500 euros for the grave and burial, but not for the time afterwards. It is also unclear which of the millions of graves are affected by the new decision and who should pay the fee.
Because of the international sanctions imposed in connection with the nuclear dispute, Iran has been in an acute economic crisis for years. The national currency, the rial, has meanwhile lost almost 60 percent of its value. The economic situation became even more difficult after the system-critical protests in mid-September. Because of the brutal repression of the demonstrators by police and security forces, the EU imposed further sanctions on Iran.
According to experts, only an agreement in the nuclear dispute could improve the economic situation to some extent, but that is also off the table for the time being because of the protests. The administration is therefore trying to compensate for the crisis with new internal fees.