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Iranian officials redistribute food seized from hoarders

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Photo shows boxes and bottles of cooking oil stacked at a warehouse in Iran.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says its intelligence officers have seized huge quantities of food products from hoarders after the government introduced price hikes last week.

An IRGC statement published on Thursday said that government authorities had immediately redistributed stockpiles of cooking oil, rice, sugar, flour, pasta and animal feed discovered from hoarders.

The statement said the volume of the goods seized from storage houses across Iran had amounted to 35,410 metric tons with an estimated value of 15 trillion rials ($50 million).

It said around a third of the goods discovered were various types of cooking oil, a product whose price nearly quadrupled after the government introduced its subsidy overhaul plan earlier this month.

The IRGC said raids on hoarders will continue in coming weeks o help authorities maintain calm in the Iranian food market.

Iran ordered price hikes for four major food products on May 12 as part of a decision to liberalize prices and to grant cash subsidies to consumers.  

The government says it has deposited 400 trillion rials ($1.5 billion) worth of cash subsidies to bank accounts of more than 23.6 million households to help them cope with the price hikes over the two calendar months to late June. 

Authorities say the plan will help prevent smuggling of subsidized food out of Iran at a time the global food prices have soared because of the coronavirus pandemic and war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Iranian government also plans to announce quotas for buying subsidized bread within the next weeks.

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