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Iran Grapples with Public Anxiety and Fiscal Crisis, Tightens Censorship in Wake of Israel Attack

Two-minute read

In the aftermath of a precedented strike by the clerical regime on Israeli territory, Iran’s currency market finds itself plunged into unprecedented chaos. The assault, launched under the cover of Saturday night, has sent shockwaves through financial corridors, with the price of the dollar skyrocketing from 67,000 beyond 70,000 Iranian tomans, thrusting the market into a state of insecurity.

As tensions reverberate across the nation, media censorship tightens its grip, stifling the flow of information and exacerbating public anxiety. Meanwhile, scenes of chaos unfold at fuel stations across the country, as lengthy queues snake through the streets, reflecting the widespread apprehension gripping the population.

Reports emerging from inside Iran paint a picture of mounting pressure on currency exchanges, with some brokers facing the specter of arrest and closure. Meanwhile, the digital currency Tether, mirroring the value of the dollar, surged to staggering heights, breaching the 72,800 Iranian toman mark on Saturday night.

Heightened security measures have gripped the streets, with security forces intervening among currency traders, disrupting their daily routines. Undercover operations have revealed a clandestine world of dealers, manipulating prices to project an illusion of stability amidst the turmoil.

In a remarkable twist, news agencies and outlets close to the Raisi government have orchestrated a synchronized narrative, heralding a decline in exchange rates as a triumph of governmental response to the attack.

The official IRNA News Agency reported a swift shift in the market landscape: “At the onset of trading in the Ferdowsi and Manouchehri Street marketplaces, the dollar’s selling price surged to 70,000 Iranian tomans by 11 a.m. Within a mere three hours, it plummeted to 66,000 Iranian tomans.”

Echoes of this sentiment reverberated through outlets like Mehr News Agency, which acknowledged the recent surge in dollar prices, confirming it at 68,600 Iranian tomans in the free market.

Tasnim News Agency, aligned with the Revolutionary Guards, reinforced the narrative, claiming “an unexpected downturn in the currency market following Iran’s resolute response to Israel.”

Despite the discrepancy between real market figures and official pronouncements, state-run media outlets continue to rely solely on sanctioned data, further clouding the true state of affairs.

The tumultuous surge in currency rates commenced on Sunday, April 14, as tensions reached a crescendo following the attack. Bitcoin, a barometer of market sentiment, shed over eight percent of its value, plunging below $62,000.

As citizens grapple with the fallout, scenes of panic buying unfold across Tehran, with long queues forming outside supermarkets as households rush to secure essential provisions. In response, some supermarkets have extended their operating hours well into the early hours of the morning.

Simultaneously, gas stations have become focal points of anxiety, with lengthy queues bending through the streets, prompting state intervention to manage the situation. Reuters has documented similar scenes, with queues stretching outside gas stations in Karaj, underscoring the widespread impact of the unfolding crisis.

However, amidst the chaos, reports of heightened censorship and media crackdowns underscore a broader narrative of governmental control in the face of adversity. The state-run Fararu website reported on April 14, “Following the publication of materials aimed at disturbing the mental security of society and destabilizing the country’s economic environment after the successful and prideful operation of the country’s armed forces against the Zionist regime last night, the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office charged Jahan-e Sanat newspaper and an economic reporter with crimes.”