MEHR NEWS AGENCY, KALEME (Iran), LE MONDE (France)
As a last resort to fight soaring food prices, a top Iranian official has proposed a ban on images of people eating chicken on television.
National Police Chief Esma'il Ahmadi Moghadam suggested that images of chicken should be banned from state television, fearing that they may provoke attacks on affluent Iranians by the underprivileged, reports the Mehr News Agency,
"Films are the now the window to society, and some of those witnessing the class gap may say: "We will take our knives and take our rights from the rich,"" said Moghadam.
The price of a kilo of chicken is now hovering at the $5 mark, compared to $2 before sanctions were imposed by Western governments earlier this month as a cause of Iran's continuing nuclear program.
The government has attempted to offer discounted chicken, which attracts queues of up to 14 hours in some Iranian cities. This video posted on YouTube reportedly shows a rush to buy chicken at a state co-operative.
It was also reported that in a recent broadcast of a film first produced in 1986, where one character mentions the price of clementines, the audio was dubbed in order to conceal the truth about inflation.
However, chicken has become the central symbol of the regime's inability to provide affordable food, with many people venting their anger on social media websites. One Iranian Internet activist, Vahid online, sarcastically wrote: "This program may contain images of cooked chicken..."
— Vahid Online (@Vahid) July 15, 2012
A blog from Le Monde reports that journalists from the northern province of Gilan were reassured when they learned they would be able to buy discount chicken with their press cards.
Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari made a humorous interpretation of the whole situation on his Facebook page with the following drawing.