According to the state-run website New Online, the price of cement has jumped by 21%. On March 18th, restrictions on the export of cement to the lucrative Iraqi market, which brings along high profits to merchants affiliated with the regime, have been removed.
The Chair of the House and Building Association in Tehran was asked whether a tsunami on the cost of housing is coming. He told News Online: “As an expert in housing I have studied the market for the last fifty years, and following the present unprecedented depression, I believe a sudden rise of housing costs in Iran has begun with the new Persian year. This will affect all aspects of the economy.”
On March 22nd, the state-run Fararu website quoted Abbas Shakeri, Chair of the Economy University, who expressed doubt that Iran’s economy will fare any better in the current Persian year than it did in the dismal second half of last year. He said: “According to my information, with respect to the rate of inflation and the persistence of the depression in the current Persian year, I express concern that presently the country is in a deep depression.”
At the same time, another regime expert from Tarbiyat Moalem University in Tehran said this on March 22nd: “The new government has taken a number of economic steps to improve international relations which has also a psychological effect. I, however, believe that it does not have much substance to it to affect a radical change. What is not being noted is that there is an absence of coordination, cohesion and a long-term plan; what we are seeing are simply group and individual interests. The issue here is the propaganda and participants putting attaining a better personal status over the betterment of the Iranian people as a whole. All of the news and the focus of the media in the past few months have been directed to abroad and here we don’t know what is happening to the economy.”
While a record level of inflation has stricken the Iranian economy, the government is facing a 52 billion budget deficit and has in turn increased taxes as a remedy. The regime’s supreme leader Khamenei, in his Persian New Year message, supported the present condition as a resistive economy and said:
“Culture is even more important than the economy since culture is the air that we breathe. If the air is clean it has its own effect and if it is dirty, it has other effects. We don’t want to say that all cultural damages have foreign sources; we too are guilty.”