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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid