The second round of US sanctions, which will target Iran’s oil sector and central bank, is due in November and it is expected to further weaken the Iranian rial, raise import costs, increase inflation, and reduce the ordinary people’s purchasing power.

Iranian state media quoted Rafsanjani as saying: “Today, poverty is bearing down on society like a tsunami.”

He also said that Iranian authorities facing depleted budgets should not rely on social welfare bodies to deal with poverty, which is the traditional approach under the Iranian Regime. He said that civil society groups, like families and nongovernmental charities, are the only things that can help Iran withstand the coming “storm of social exclusion”

The Tehran municipal leader is the eldest son of the former Iranian President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

US sanctions on Iran

Earlier this month, the US reimposed sanctions on Iran’s financial transactions in US dollars, car industry, and purchases of commercial planes and metals, including gold. This is part of the US plan to pressure Iran into coming to the negotiating table for a new nuclear deal that would also address the Regime’s other malign behaviours.

Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on May 8 after months of speculation. This triggered the removal of sanctions waivers against Iran and Trump prompted businesses around the world to pull out of Iran or face sanctions.

Iranian-American economist Siamack Shojai told VOA Persian on Wednesday that he foresaw more economic distress in Iran as the result of US sanctions, with Iranian incomes to drop to their “lowest levels yet”.

Shojai, dean of the Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, said: “The dollar will be rationed even more than it is now. It is even possible that the Iranian government will no longer be able to afford to import food from abroad, and ultimately, the people will have to be at the mercy of food rationing from the authorities.”