Iran’s currency, the rial, fell as much as 18% on Monday to a record low against the US dollar, according to media reports.
It dropped to as much as 35,000 to the dollar, according to agencies citing currency exchange sites in the country.
The currency has reportedly lost 80% of its value since the end of 2011.
The fall suggests economic sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear programme are hitting economic activity ever harder.
The rates were not available on the exchanges’ websites later in the day. The BBC’s Middle East analyst Sebastian Usher suggested the figures had been blanked out because of the extent of the fall.
The latest slide appears to have been triggered by a government move to supply dollars to importers of certain basic goods at a special rate in an attempt to rein in the currency slide, but the move has had the opposite effect.
Iran is all but frozen out of the global banking system as a result of largely US-led sanctions designed to discourage what it says is Iran’s attempts to build a nuclear weapon.
Tehran says its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes, such as energy and producing medical isotopes.
This is important. The ultimate goal on behalf of the U.S. government and the West is to usher in a regime change in Iran, not to prevent Iran from potentially building nuclear weapons. (We don’t really care that much about nuclear weapons. This entire issue revolves around shifting geopolitical power and Western access to the Middle East to preserve economic interests… but I digress.) The United States wants an Iranian government less defiant and resistant of Western pressure and influence. After the fraudulent June 2009 presidential elections in Iran, an organic opposition to the regime arose and became what is now known as the Green Movement. However, as I’ve explained a countless number of times, economic sanctions are specifically designed to harm the people of the country they’re directed towards, not the government. The thought is that the people will tire of the resulting poor economic conditions and either rise up against their government or place an increasing amount of pressure on it in an effort to alter their government’s policies in an acceptable way such that the sanctions will be lifted. This works far better in theory than it does in practice.
The economic sanctions placed on Iran have effectively driven the Green Movement underground. If a regime change is to take place, it must be undertaken by the Iranian people alone. Economic sanctions force the population to become more reliant on government services and it shifts any opposition into a position of vulnerability, as I’ve explained in the posts I linked to. The sanctions are counterproductive and they only work to harm the people the Iranian government does not represent. The Iranian people want a regime change and so do we. This is not how to do it.