In Iran, the rate of a dollar surpassed 110,000 rials, and the price of gold now exceeds 44,000,000 rials. With the rise in the rate of the dollar, the economic and political complications for the Iranian regime are high.
Security and intelligence forces are stationed in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and many other regions, in hopes of quelling any protests by the Iranian people. Anti-riot units are riding on motorcycles, stationed at intersections throughout the country, particularly those close to shopping centers.
On July 29, a large crowd gathered in Sabz-e Maidan Square in Tehran but were confronted by the State Security Force and plain clothes agents before a protest could occur. For the regime, clamping down on any protests regarding the economic condition of the country is their first response, meant to keep the people from revolting.
The Iranian Central Bank claims that the recent changes in the currency and gold market are the result of conspiracies by the country’s enemies and are meant to cause anxiety for the Iranian people. The regime has also resorted to hold the currency to set rate of exchange and threatening merchants who attempt to exchange money at the international rates.
In light of these developments, the Iranian parliament is calling the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in for questioning. On Wednesday, the Iranian parliament announced it would hold a special session regarding the plummeting currency and other aspects of the struggling economy. They also plan to separately question Labor Minister Ali Rabiei over the high unemployment rate.
Since the United States pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, the rial has continued to drop and the threat of restored sanctions have negatively impacted the Iranian economy. Iran continues to negotiate with European countries, who are attempting to keep the JCPOA in place. Questions remain about whether that is possible, in light of the fact that these governments cannot protect their companies from U.S. sanctions.
The regime is attempting to hold onto its power, even as the economic turmoil continues to rise. There are calls to replace members of Rouhani’s administration, especially those involved in economic issues. Others are calling for a new election or the replacement of Rouhani’s civilian-led government with a military-led one.
There are many questions about how these economic issues will impact the regime’s negotiations with Europe or if the sanctions will have a greater negative impact on the Iranian economy. In the meantime, protests continue throughout the country, as industries face the economic realities of high unemployment, a rial suffering from inflation, and looming economic sanctions from abroad.