For more than four decades, the people of Iran have seen hollow promises and baseless claims from officials rather than practical and effective steps to resolve the country’s dilemmas. The government’s policies have only resulted in more pressures and obstacles that have worsened the living and working conditions of the people. However, the rulers continue their lies despite their humiliating scandals.
In this regard, despite many indicators and official statistics proving that the country is experiencing an unprecedented recession and is on the verge of bankruptcy, President Hassan Rouhani brags of production growth. “We witness production growth in many industrial sectors. Some 18 percent, 8 percent, 12 percent [growth in producing] various and diverse goods, from our important production goods like steel and petrochemicals to the people’s essential items like home appliances and cars,” Rouhani said at September 30 cabinet meeting aired by the Channel Six TV.
However, what is the truth? According to official reports, in the past months, inflation of essential items has increased by 60-70 percent. On September 27, Prof. Steve Hanke, an economist at the Johns Hopkins University, shed light on the conditions of the Iranian economy.
In #Iran, the #Rial is getting crushed by #US #Sanctions, the #Coronavirus, and monetary mismanagement. By my measure, #Inflation is at 153.28%/yr. Iran's ONLY hope is to make the rial as good as gold with gold-backed currency board. https://t.co/HLUBKNpv7J
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) September 27, 2020
Furthermore, Iranian media outlets highlighted shocking news over workers’ living conditions. “A 200-percent growth of prices has broken workers’ back,” Shargh daily wrote on September 27. ILNA news agency reported, “The poverty line has reached 100 million rials [approximately $333] per month.” This is while workers’ minimum monthly salary is less than 20 million rials [around $66] based on the labor law passed by the Parliament [Majlis] on June 7.
On the other hand, millions of employees and workers are at risk of losing their jobs. “Between 2.87-6.43 million people will lose their employment due to the coronavirus outbreak,” the Majlis Research Center reported on April 28.
As Prof. Hanke mentioned, the rial sees a new record devaluation. On October 1, the rial registered its lowest value ever against the U.S. dollar and each dollar exchanged at 300,000 rials in the free market. “Foreign currencies’ prices have plummeted. The bourse as the administration’s mere achievement has gone into coma. Production and employment are shrunk daily. Markets are in chaos and any market has predictable behaviors. The government does not have more capability to control the volume of liquidity and the national currency rate. This liquidity has flooded out of the market and might destroy the market at any moment. Economic security reached its lowest level and financial corruption has become chronic,” Ebtekar daily wrote on October 3.
Also, in its latest report over economic freedom, the Fraser Institute ranked Iran 158th among 162 countries across the globe, showing a 15-step fall in comparison to last year. On the other hand, the relentless growth of the prices of essential goods, including bread, eggs, rice, beans, and different types of meat, has pushed many families to remove these goods from their food basket, exposing them to malnutrition.
This is not the whole story, however. Rouhani and his government are fueling the people’s fury. In this context, as many officials and outlets issue warnings, a social explosion against the entire ruling system is on the horizon.