The Effects of the Re-imposition of US Sanctions on Food Security in Iran

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

2 Department of Management & Health Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Background
Following the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran in 2018, unprecedented inflation has occurred in Iran’s food market that will undoubtedly affect the food security of the Iranian people. The present study aims to determine the effects of the sanctions on food prices and food security of Iranian households.

 
Methods
Interrupted time series (ITS) analysis was applied to assess the effects of sanctions on the average retail price of food products in Iran. Household food security was estimated by calculating the share of household food expenditure. Costs of following a healthy diet based on the food pyramid were estimated.

 
Results
The import dependency ratio of Iran’s food market was about 25%. After sanctions due to the limitations in international financial exchanges a significant increase in the prices of all food groups occurred in 2018, the year after the re-imposition of sanctions. The highest inflation rate was observed in vegetable, meat, and fruit groups. The percentage of urban and rural households in Iran that were prone to food insecurity increased from 8.84% and 25.17% to 11.2% and 29.2%, respectively, from 2017 to 2019. The annual average cost of a healthy diet for a sample Iranian family of 3.3, based on the current prices, is 341 866 008 IRR (US$2849) which is 3.6 times greater than the average amount Iranian families spent on food last year (94 505 000 IRR or US$788).

 
Conclusion
After the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran, food insecurity as a result of economic vulnerability, has increased and due to the current status of food prices and incomes, following a healthy diet has become more difficult for most Iranians. This makes the Iranian population more prone to chronic diseases in the near future and if this trend persists, it places the country in danger of food crisis and political instability.

Keywords


  1. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2001. Rome, Italy: FAO; 2002.
  2. Rosen S, Shapouri S. Rising food prices intensify food insecurity in developing countries. Amber Waves. 2008;6(1):16-21.
  3. Headey DD, Martin WJ. The impact of food prices on poverty and food security. Annu Rev Resour Economics. 2016;8:329-351. doi:10.1146/annurev-resource-100815-095303
  4. Green R, Cornelsen L, Dangour AD, et al. The effect of rising food prices on food consumption: systematic review with meta-regression. BMJ. 2013;346:f3703. doi:10.1136/bmj.f3703
  5. Mohammadi-Nasrabadi F, Omidvar N, Khoshfetrat MR, Kolahdooz F. Household food insecurity in the Islamic Republic of Iran: a systematic review and meta-analysis. East Mediterr Health J. 2014;20(11):698-706.
  6. Smith LC, Subandoro A. Measuring Food Security Using Household Expenditure Surveys. Vol 3. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); 2007.
  7. Monsivais P, Aggarwal A, Drewnowski A. Are socio-economic disparities in diet quality explained by diet cost? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012;66(6):530-535. doi:10.1136/jech.2010.122333
  8. Gil Á, Martinez de Victoria E, Olza J. Indicators for the evaluation of diet quality. Nutr Hosp. 2015;31 Suppl 3:128-144. doi:10.3305/nh.2015.31.sup3.8761
  9. Statistical Center of Iran. Summary Results of the Iranian Urban and Rural Household Income and Expenditure Survey - The Year 1397. [Persian]. https://www.amar.org.ir/Portals/0/News/1398/ch-hvd97.pdf.  Accessed September 9, 2019.
  10. Omidvar N, Shariatjafari S, Minaei M. Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Iran. Ministry of Health and Medical Education; 2015. [Persian].
  11. Ferro-Luzzi A. The conceptual framework for estimating food energy requirement. Public Health Nutr. 2005;8(7A):940-952. doi:10.1079/phn2005789
  12. Salehi F, Abdollahi Z, Abdollahi M. Good Food Basket for the Iranian Community. Ministry of Health and Medical Education; 2013:6-10. [Persian].
  13. Barr SI. Introduction to dietary reference intakes. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006;31(1):61-65. doi:10.1139/h05-019
  14. Wagner AK, Soumerai SB, Zhang F, Ross-Degnan D. Segmented regression analysis of interrupted time series studies in medication use research. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002;27(4):299-309. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2002.00430.x
  15. Linden A. Conducting interrupted time-series analysis for single- and multiple-group comparisons. Stata J. 2015;15(2):480-500. doi:10.1177/1536867x1501500208
  16. Statistical Center of Iran. Selected Findings of the 2016 National Population and Housing Census. https://wwwamarorgir/english/Population-and-Housing-Censuses.  Accessed August 29, 2019. 
  17. World Food Programme (WFP). Food and Nutrition Security in Iran. WFP; 2016.
  18. Mulik K, Haynes-Maslow L. The affordability of MyPlate: an analysis of SNAP benefits and the actual cost of eating according to the dietary guidelines. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017;49(8):623-631.e621. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2017.06.005
  19. Consumer Price Index in May 2019. https://www.amar.org.ir/Portals/0/News/1397/shg98-2.pdf.  Accessed August 29, 2019. [Persian].
  20. Kokabisaghi F. Assessment of the effects of economic sanctions on Iranians' right to health by using human rights impact assessment tool: a systematic review. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2018;7(5):374-393. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2017.147
  21. Gordon CJ. Crippling Iran: the UN security council and the tactic of deliberate ambiguity. Georget J Int Law. 2012;44(3):973-1006.
  22. UNICEF. Annual Report 2012 for Iran (MENA). UNICEF; 2012.
  23. Darmon N, Drewnowski A. Contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic disparities in diet quality and health: a systematic review and analysis. Nutr Rev. 2015;73(10):643-660. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv027
  24. Reidlinger DP, Sanders TA, Goff LM. How expensive is a cardioprotective diet? analysis from the CRESSIDA study. Public Health Nutr. 2017;20(8):1423-1430. doi:10.1017/s1368980016003529
  25. Field JO. From food security to food insecurity: the case of Iraq, 1990-91. GeoJournal. 1993;30(2):185-194. doi:10.1007/bf00808137
  26. Koc M, Jernigan C, Das R. Food security and food sovereignty in Iraq. Food Cult Soc. 2007;10(2):317-348. doi:10.2752/155280107x211467
  27. Ross JE. Food Security in Cuba. In: Font MA, ed. Cuba Today: Continuity and Change Since the 'Periodo Especial.' New York: Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies; 2004:115-125.
  28. Kheirandish M, Varahrami V, Kebriaeezade A, Cheraghali AM. Impact of economic sanctions on access to noncommunicable diseases medicines in the Islamic Republic of Iran. East Mediterr Health J. 2018;24(1):42-51. 
  29. Aloosh M. How economic sanctions compromise cancer care in Iran. Lancet Oncol. 2018;19(7):e334. doi:10.1016/s1470-2045(18)30427-3
  30. Mirzaei S, Dadparvar S, Alavi A. Economic sanctions endanger nuclear medicine services in Iran. J Nucl Med. 2019;60(4):569-570. doi:10.2967/jnumed.119.226852
  31. Bazerghi C, McKay FH, Dunn M. The role of food banks in addressing food insecurity: a systematic review. J Community Health. 2016;41(4):732-740. doi:10.1007/s10900-015-0147-5
  32. 32 Berner M, O’Brien K. The shifting pattern of food security support: food stamp and food bank usage in North Carolina. Nonprofit Volunt Sect Q. 2004;33(4):655-672. doi:10.1177/0899764004269145
  33. Damari B, Abdollahi Z, Hajifaraji M, Rezazadeh A. Nutrition and food security policy in the Islamic Republic of Iran: situation analysis and roadmap towards 2021. East Mediterr Health J. 2018;24(2):177-188. 
  34. Waminathan MS. Zero hunger. Science. 2014;345(6196):491. doi:10.1126/science.1258820

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 02 November 2020
  • Receive Date: 30 January 2020
  • Revise Date: 07 October 2020
  • Accept Date: 10 October 2020