(Bloomberg) -- Iranians bracing for tougher times now that the U.S. has renewed sanctions are taking a jab at officials over government spending and nepotism.
A social media campaign under the hashtag #where_is_your_kid? is asking officials to explain privileges their families enjoy.
The campaign, launched last week, was prompted by photos that circulated online showing some of the officials’ children wearing expensive clothes and driving luxury cars, according to the state-run Young Journalists’ Club. Earlier this month, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked President Donald Trump to release the names of Iranian government officials who have green cards or bank accounts in the U.S. (Ahmadinejad is a hardline critic of his successor, President Hassan Rouhani.)
Some officials stepped up to the bat. Culture Minister Abbas Salehi gave details about the education and job status of his two sons and daughter, who he said were living in Iran, YJC said on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, himself a graduate of the University of Denver, said his children have completed their studies abroad and returned to Iran six years ago, Fars news agency reported.
Wide income inequity and the dramatic weakening of the Iranian currency before sanctions resumed last week have left many in Iran angry and frustrated. Protests broke out in December and again in August to condemn rampant corruption and a perceived lack of government accountability.
“This isn’t about whether they live in the U.S. or in Iran but whether they are living like other social classes?” one person tweeted. “Are they reaping the fruit of their own effort or eating from our riches? Are they appointed on merit?”
President Hassan Rouhani has promised to step up efforts to prosecute corruption within the state and private sectors to allay Iranians’ frustrations.
On Saturday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked the judiciary to take “swift and just” actions against “economic wrongdoers.” On Sunday, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said 67 people have been rounded so far -- some detained and others released -- for suspected currency profiteering, and more than 100 have been barred from leaving the country, Tasnim news agency reported.
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