A Legal Analysis of the Effects of Food Insecurity on the Physical and Mental Health of Iranian Citizens under Domestic Law

By Meysam Khosravi - Researcher of Food Security Law

One of the fundamental rights of all global and Iranian citizens is food security, which is a basic need for all people. This issue has been explicitly or implicitly considered in the laws of Iran, including the Constitution. Article 3, paragraph 12, focuses on eradicating poverty and creating relative prosperity, especially in food programmes, while Article 43 focuses on the basic security of citizens in the field of food with an approach to eradicating poverty and deprivation.

In addition to the Constitution of Iran, the country’s development plans have addressed this issue, the most important of which is Article 10, and also another part of the first development plan law, which states “improving the health of citizens and paying attention to the agricultural sector”. Article 29 of the second development plan law considers the “approach to maintaining the security of citizens and expanding the food hygiene of this group”. Articles 109 and 197 of the third development plan law pursue “paying attention to the expansion of food hygiene of citizens and agricultural products, creating a food basket for all citizens to protect their right to health and the right to life”. Articles 84 and 95 of the fourth development plan law “emphasise the expansion of public health, provision of a suitable food basket and reduction of malnutrition, which can be achieved along with the establishment of a specific system called the Supreme Council of Health and Food Security and a system of distribution and consumption of food in an appropriate manner”. Articles 32 and 34 of the fifth development plan law stress “monitoring the activity and control of food security of citizens and providing a list of healthy food and providing a list of healthy food with a desirable food basket”. Article 31 of the sixth development plan law emphasises security and self-sufficiency in food supply.

A Legal Analysis of the Effects of Food Insecurity on the Physical and Mental Health of Iranian Citizens under Domestic Law
A man with a shopping cart walks past the grocery shelf in a store. High food prices have made him look at them more carefully.

First, we examined the laws regarding food security of Iranian citizens and we understood that this is a positive right or a duty of the government towards all citizens. But on the other hand, we want to address the issue of reducing the food table of the people in relation to the fact that this inflation was a violation of the citizens’ right to food. In the newspaper of the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the title “The bitter taste of high prices and the repeated increase in prices, which has made people’s palates extremely bitter for several months”, the issue of increasing food costs in the field of consumable and edible items has been highlighted, an issue that can lead to important consequences such as the spread of poverty, malnutrition among the lower classes of the society, etc., due to multiple increases in taxes and restrictions in the next year’s budget and other factors.

As per the official government statistics, the cost of red and white meat as well as its related products has surged by 87.6% over the past year, reaching 900 thousand tomans per kilogram. This is just one instance of many. Another news report has also highlighted the decline in people’s ability to purchase food, with no demand for cheaper rice. The statistics presented in this report indicate a 40% increase in the cost of basic necessities such as rice and meat, which are crucial food items for Iranians. This could potentially signify a significant structural and uncontrolled crisis, leading to a decline in people’s purchasing power.

Stated differently, this matter could potentially constitute a fundamental infringement upon the rights of Iranian citizens. The proliferation of malnutrition among the lower echelons of our society is merely one facet of the current crisis, and it poses a significant challenge for the government in ensuring the food security of its citizens.

Meysam Khosravi (Researcher of Food Security Law)


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