A money changer holds Iranian rial banknotes as he waits for customers in Tehran's business district January 7, 2012.

Iran's Currency Plunges To Historic Low

Monday, 03/04/2024

Iran's national currency plummeted to a historic all-time low on Monday, just days after the controversial elections characterized by a low turnout.

On Monday morning, the US dollar was being traded for 606,000 rials, marking the highest recorded price for the American currency in Iran. This represents a nearly 20 percent drop since early January, coinciding with heightened tensions in the Middle East.

The depreciation comes as a culmination of factors including the failure of nuclear negotiations with the United States and its European allies, and the consolidation of power by Iranian hardliners since March 2022.

In addition to the US dollar, the Euro was traded at 647,000 rials and the British pound hovered near 760,000 rials on Tehran's black market on Monday.

The decline of the rial has been a prolonged trend since the 1979 revolution, but it accelerated notably in 2018 following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal and the imposition of sanctions on Iran's oil exports and banking sector. Remarkably, the currency was valued at 70 rials per dollar in 1978.

The sharp devaluation of the rial has exacerbated inflationary pressures over the past five years, pushing millions of Iranians below the poverty line. Official government statistics indicate an annual inflation rate of over 40 percent, though many believe the actual figure to be higher.

The ongoing economic crisis has undermined the legitimacy of the Islamic government, particularly in the eyes of voters. The majority of Iranians abstained from participating in the Friday elections due to economic and social disillusionment and discontent.

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