Iranian City of Yazd Has Among Highest-Earning Beggars, Official Says

Beggars earn up to $20 an hour in Yazd, the capital of the central province of Yazd, according to Amrollah Seifoddini, a city council member.

“Begging has become a popular and lucrative profession in the city of Yazd in recent years,” Mr. Seifoddini said. “Efforts by the mayor’s office to provide job training for panhandlers as a way of taking them off the streets have failed.”

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Mosques are pictured in the skyline of Yazd, 700 km (435 miles) south of Tehran, Iran. Reuters ” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

Seifoddini explained: “Beggars manipulate public sentiment and sympathy. Citizens, however, should know that their misplaced compassion does not provide real aid to the needy. Also, panhandlers deface the historic city of Yazd which relies heavily on tourism as a major source of revenue. Beggars pester domestic and foreign tourists which is a real concern for many businesses.”

“The majority of the beggars are not Iranians. They are from Afghanistan or Pakistan,” Seifoddini noted. “Most panhandlers are not homeless or poor. They make a living through begging. It is their job. Sometimes police have arrested beggars with a large amount of cash in their possession.”

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi