Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi (R), Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (L)

Iran’s Top Clerics Express Concern over Economy’s Dire State

Saturday, 05/11/2024

Several of Iran’s top clerics have expressed concern over high inflation, fluctuating exchange rates, and the impact of sanctions on the economy, placing blame on the government.

Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a hardline cleric holding one of the highest ranks in the Iranian regime’s Shiite clerical system, conveyed to President Ebrahim Raeisi during a meeting on Friday the urgent need for the government to curb the “rampant inflation.”

"People are struggling with soaring housing prices. A solution must be found because housing plays a vital role in the nation's well-being," Makarem Shirazi emphasized.

Additionally, he addressed issues such as escalating food costs, dwindling purchasing power, and exchange rate volatility, stating, “the government must tackle these challenges.”

Ayatollah Noori Hamadani

Hossein Noori Hamedani, a conservative grand ayatollah in Iran, echoed similar sentiments on Friday, informing Raisi, “everywhere you go, people lament the high cost and difficulty of life. It has become challenging for individuals to make ends meet."

Yesterday, the Supreme Leader's chief of staff, Gholamhossein Mohammadi Golpayegani, also acknowledged Iran's economic struggles. While attributing them to sanctions, Golpayegani urged Raisi to find a solution: "We are facing challenges due to sanctions, but the government will find ways to overcome them."

Religious figures, who have traditionally supported the Raisi administration and its hard-line policies, have expressed concern amid a backdrop of inflation exceeding 50%.

As of last month, Iran's Central Bank reported a 52.3% inflation rate for 2023, while gasoline remains in short supply despite the country's abundant oil reserves.

Although the economy was already suffering due to international sanctions related to Iran's nuclear weapons programs and support for regional terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which have little connection to Raisi's government, no one seemed to acknowledge the role of the Supreme Leader and instead placed blame on him.

Despite the clergy's criticism of the government and apparent alignment with the people, many harbor pent-up resentment against the clergy as a whole, especially in light of the violent crackdown on women for enforcing the hijab since 2022, which is associated with religious leaders and the harsh, oppressive doctrine of the Islamic Republic.

The dire state of the economy has worsened due to recent foreign policy decisions by the Islamic Republic.

In the first two weeks of April, Tehran's foreign exchange market experienced an unprecedented surge, with the dollar briefly hitting 700,000 rials amid escalating tensions between Iran and Israel. In 1978, a dollar was equivalent to 70 rials.

Over the years, the devaluation of the Iranian rial has pushed millions of Iranians into poverty.

More News