News / Middle East

Hardline Cleric Urges Iranians to Overcome Rial Fall

The Iranian rial has plummeted against the dollar in recent days further unsettling Iran's economy.
The Iranian rial has plummeted against the dollar in recent days further unsettling Iran's economy.
A senior hardline Iranian cleric used Friday prayers to reassure Iranians they will overcome the recent plunge in the value of the country’s currency, as public frustration with the crisis turned from street protests to online mockery.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran University “these pressures won’t last,” according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

Khatami also urged politicians not to blame each other using the media because it was what the Western media wanted to see, the report said. He told the Iranian people it was their right to be upset, but that reacting through chaos and uproar was what the “enemy” wanted. 

Khatami added that Iran “has proven that it will not be worn down by pressures and has experienced how to live with problems.”

On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the latest economic woes on “psychological pressures” linked to Western sanctions and criticized politicians who said his policies have exacerbated the collapse of the currency.

Declining value of the Iranian rialDeclining value of the Iranian rial
x
Declining value of the Iranian rial
Declining value of the Iranian rial
The rial has lost a third of its value in the past several days and dropped as much as 80 percent over the past year, further compromising Iran’s already shaky economy. Iran’s official inflation rate is 25 percent. Western sanctions have severely restricted the country’s ability to sell oil on the world market and limited its access to the international banking system.

A young engineer in Tehran told VOA his construction business is suffering from the increase in prices.

“Iron material used to be 9,000 rials per kilo last year. Now it’s 20,000 rials,” he said. “Two weeks ago, a polystyrene that we used had increased in price by 20 percent, but in the past few days, it is no longer sold because the material is imported from South Korea.”

He said there are many other examples of the challenges facing Iranians.

“I wanted to buy a new car, but the national car companies are no longer registering or even pre-registering [vehicles] for sale because they want to increase their prices due to the increase in dollar rates, but the parliament does not allow them,” he said.

An Iranian software developer who works in Dubai and travels to Tehran frequently told VOA that not only have prices increased, but the quality of goods has declined as well.

“My friend who has MS [multiple sclerosis] used to buy a better quality medicine made in Europe. Now that brand is no longer sold in the market, so he pays more for a lower quality brand, and he can feel the effect,” the source said.

He said life feels like it was back in the Iran-Iraq war years of the 1980s, when goods were scarce.

“The quality of national brands has declined, and imported goods are much more expensive and hard to find. Every time I travel back, my friends ask for stuff such as Gillette razors.”

The rial has lost so much value that it has inspired a popular joke in Iran, which suggests even a homeless person in New York can use their change to stay at the posh Dariush Grand Hotel on the resort island of Kish in the Persian Gulf.

The joke echoes criticism leveled against Ahmadinejad for his spending during his recent trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, where he travelled with more than 100 people in his entourage.

Parliament member Jafar Ghaderia criticized Ahmadinejad, saying it would have been better for the president to spend that money on industry rather than his delegates. 

On social media, Iranians are using satire as a safe way to protest. Some popular jokes include “Farewell Turkey. Hello Caspian” and “Goodbye Adidas and Timberland, Hello Kafsh Melli,” referring to an Iranian brand of shoe. The same joke is made even about small items like chewing gum, where it goes “Farewell Orbit, hello Shik,” an Iranian brand.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: davi damiano from: malawi
October 07, 2012 4:20 PM
this promblem are same as malawi we suffer as iran devolution is bad so the western countries as find the war of poor our economey as falldown

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 06, 2012 8:13 AM
Iranian leaders do not see the hardship of the people as suffering. They see it as a training for the troubles ahead. The so-called spiritual leader must achieve a nuclear bomb at all cost. They believe that it will be soon, and when it does happen and the nuclear bomb gets exploded, people are expected to live without western goods and services, and possibly remain inside closed doors and tunnels in gas masks for several days and weeks if they will save from the nuclear fumes at a time when there maybe no Europe or America because they have been sunk. So far nobody has died from the exercise, giving the leaders idea of a success. And they have not been stressed to the point of exhausting the central bank's foreign reserve. There is much hope inside Iran and little hope of dissuading it to discontinue its quest for nuclear bomb. When the day is dawn, we shall see Iran with nuclear bomb. Everyone will go on their knees to beg Iran to restrain from destroying the world. The drop in the value of the rial is a mere exercise of safety precautions for the D-day.

by: Q from: Tabriz
October 05, 2012 11:17 PM
Iran still has over $150 billion dollars in reserves which can fund the country’s foreign currency needs for at least 3 years, so the sanctions that started a few months ago can not be the reason for Rial’s fluctuations. The free-market of the foreign currency is actually run and managed by the Iranian central bank, and the size of the free-market / black-market is so insignificant that the central bank can run the speculators into bankruptcy by selling 50-60 million dollars in a single day and then sit and watch the flock running for safety. And this is exactly what they did last year when foreign currency and gold coins lost 25% on the black market in less than an hour, so watch out for the sequel!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs