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Tehran beggars make $ 1,500 a month: Iran official

world Updated: May 04, 2010 20:58 IST
AFP
Beggars in the Iranian capital

Beggars in the Iranian capital earn the equivalent of $ 1,500 a month -- five times the official minimum wage -- the Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.

"Tehran beggars make at least 500,000 rials ($ 50) a day or 15 million rials a month," the agency quoted Sadegh Avvali, the official in charge of social services at Tehran municipality, as saying.

He said that most beggars roaming the streets asking for change in the sprawling capital come from villages and remote towns or are foreigners, and that authorities round up about 300 vagrants and beggars daily.

Under a municipality initiative, panhandlers and vagrants would be picked off the streets and sent to shelters at night, Mehr quoted him as saying.

Beggars, including women and children, routinely roam the Iranian capital and other large cities, especially the religious hubs such as the northeastern city of Mashhad.

Homeless children and adults also often sell flowers and chewing gum at busy intersections.

The Iranian minimum wage equals about USD 300 a month, and many Iranians believe that giving alms is a charitable act that also prevents mishaps.