Firebrand Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami claims the massive rise of prices in Iran is the result of a plot hatched by the United States.
The hardliner cleric and Friday prayer Imam in Tehran said that high prices are the result of an "economic war” waged by the US, referring to the heavy sanctions Iran is currently living under.
Although economic sanctions imposed by Washington have a major impact on Iran's economy, many among local media and politicians also blame government mismanagement and the centrally controlled economy plagued by corruption.
“I clearly announce that this high level of inflation is a conspiracy and economic war staged by the US, so the authorities should put in more effort to deal with the unbridled prices,” he said.
Khatami went as far as making a strange claim that “American think tanks have organized 200 conspiracies to overthrow the Islamic Republic.” Accusing American research outfits of conspiring against the regime has been a recent theme in sermons by hardliner clerics.
Iran has been struggling with above-40-percent inflation since 2019 when the United States imposed sanctions.
Last May the government eliminated an annual food import subsidy of at least $10 billion, which immediately led to steep price increases. This was followed by a fall in the value of the national currency.
Food prices continue to climb as the national currency declined by 50 percent in the past six months. According to the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), in some months, food and beverage inflation hit 87 percent.
The ongoing Woman Life Freedom protests and the collapse of the JCPOA talks, have also worsened the country’s economy to levels not seen in recent history.