Iran’s experience with basic income is paradoxical. The concept is virtually unknown in the country and almost entirely absent from the public discourse. And yet, since December 2010, all Iranians residing in the country have been entitled to, and nearly all receive, a monthly cash transfer of Rl 455,000 (about $45)1 per person from the government. These unconditional transfers are officially known as “cash subsidies,” since they replace price subsidies that are being phased out. The scheme falls short of a basic income as commonly conceived in the literature, but it comes far closer to it than any other large-scale cash transfer scheme in the world. It is in effect a de facto basic income that is unique not only in its scope and size, but also in its provenance and prospects. Indeed, as a potential model for replication, it may claim certain advantages over some alternative pathways to a basic income, not least the fact that it is already in place as it approaches its first anniversary.