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Iranian President Ebrahim RaisiYouTube screenshot

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Iran (LifeSiteNews) – Iran has announced it will be rolling out “digital coupons” to ration bread to its citizens, as it cuts back bread subsidies which the country’s president says are being “wasted.”

“The government will offer citizens digital coupons that will allow them to access a limited amount of bread at subsidized prices, while the rest will be available at market rates,” FBN Global News reported. 

The food rationing can be enforced via Iran’s biometric national identity card, which it started phasing in from 2015, and which is now issued to all new applicants, and for all renewals, according to Minority Rights. The card includes a “smart chip” and stores biometric data including iris scans, fingerprints and facial images, and is already being used to access a variety of government services.

The news outlet noted that “many cash-strapped Iranians have come to rely on” Iran’s food subsidy program. Indeed, one agricultural researcher, Christian Westbrook, has pointed out that “for the 50 percent of Iran that lives below the poverty line,” buying at market rates is “not an option.” According to FBN Global News, the market prices are “about seven times higher” than those of the subsidized currency.

“So this is not an opt-in system,” said Westbrook, who founded the “Ice Age Farmer” podcast, in a commentary on Iran’s new plan. “It might be presented that way, but this is telling the people of that country who depend on these bread subsidies, now they need to go sign up for ‘the mark.’”

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi cited “corruption” and waste as the motive for the new digital coupon system, which will be enforced in about two months for subsidized bread purchases, and will later include other subsidized foods such as chicken, cheese, and vegetable oil.

“Today, subsidies are being wasted and people are witness to corruption and discrimination in this regard. How can we let this continue?” Raisi said in a televised interview Monday night. “People and the elite urge us to reform the economy and we are determined to do so.”

Spikes in the price of wheat triggered at the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war have increased the cost of government subsidies, which economist Saeed Laylaz said necessitated the new “painful surgery” for Iran’s economy. “Iran’s economy cannot afford to continue its money-splashing any more,” Laylaz added.

The rising bread prices have also sparked demonstrations in southern Iranian towns, according to FBN Global News.

Westbrook believes that Iran’s biometric ID-based food-rationing system, which he says is the first of its kind in the world, is a “bellwether” for other digital ID initiatives that will be “rolled out” across the globe.

He predicts that as the prices of food rise to the point of being unaffordable, people will be “forced onto these handouts from the government,” which he noted are essentially being called for by the Rockefeller Foundation to provide “nutritional security.”

Then, according to Westbrook, the “digital ID that the World Economic Forum establishes as the crux of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” can be “ramm[ed]” through under the pretext of “assistance to hungry people.”

“This is already being [planned]  and implemented around the rest of the world, although it hasn’t been announced yet. That’s the only difference…” said Westbrook.

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