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Iran’s Economic Collapse, the Mullahs Try To Cover It Up

In recent days, the Iranian regime’s officials talk of an “economic miracle,” or “breakthrough.” All the while, people are grappling with poverty, and state media acknowledge Iran’s economic collapse.

Abdolnasser Hemati, Iran’s Central Bank chief, claimed that the regime has “not permitted those imposing sanctions to reach their ultimate goal, which was the country’s economic collapse.”

All the while, Iran’s inflation rate, liquidity, poverty index, and dollar exchange rate are rising, and the country’s exchange market continues to decrease.

Hemati’s remarks show the mullahs are awaiting Iran’s economic collapse, or are they are hiding it?

In an interview with the state-run Arman-e Meli daily, Heydar Hossaini, one of the regime’s economists, on October 3, mocked Hemati’s recent remarks. “When the dollar exchange rate reaches 300,000 rials, and gold coins equal 150,000,000; and when people’s livelihood is either extremely low or does not exist, what does this [prevention of] economic collapse mean? What else must happen to say that there has been an economic collapse? It is good that the Central Bank chief and other officials make effort and define new terms so that it can be used in the economic literature. From the point of view of economic officials, what is the meaning of economic recession, economic collapse, and economic crisis?”

Similarly, the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani recently spoke of an “economic miracle,” and even compared Iran’s economy with Germany, claiming that the mullahs’ economy is “better” than that of Germany.

In this regard, the state-run Asia daily on Monday wrote: “Given the statistics and realities in our country’s economy, this question should be asked [from Rouhani]: What economic miracle have we achieved?”

“When Rouhani became president, the dollar exchange rate was at 30,000 rials, but it is now 300,000 rials. This rising exchange rate shows that not only Iran’s economic situation is in a crisis, but the country’s currency, ‘rial’, has lost its value.  According to official statistics, Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 3.5 percent with oil export and without oil export the GDP would have been negative 1.7 percent. The Central Bank, yet, announced that these indexes as negative 2.8 percent and negative 0.6 percent, respectively,” the article reads.

While debunking the mullahs’ claims of blaming the coronavirus outbreak as the reason for Iran’s economic recession, the article continues: “Iran’s economy was grappling with huge recession. Thus, no economic bloom followed this outbreak that we could conclude was an economic freefall.” In other words, this state-run media acknowledges the regime’s economy had already collapsed.

All the while, the state-run Eghtesad-e Saramad on Tuesday reported of the “free fall” of Iran’s stock market exchange. “Yesterday, the stock exchange traded with the fall of the indices, so that the main indicator of the stock exchange ended with a drop of more than 32,000 units and the stocks of the third trading day of the current week reached 1,490,154 units. Details of stock market transactions based on recorded statistics show that all trading indices in the stock market fell yesterday, recording an average decline of 1.61 percent.”

The Radio France International, in its Persian edition, published an interview with Freydoon Khavand, an economist close to the regime, on October 2.

This article cites the recent report by “COFACE,” a French global insurance company. In its latest report, COFACE, which is one of the most reputable global companies in the field of credit insurance and “risk” forecasting, ranks Iran as the first country in the world in terms of political and social fragility and possible occurrence of social turmoil.

“The annual update of Coface’s Political Risk Index, published in this barometer, highlights a dual trend: on the one hand, a decrease in the risk of conflict at a global level, but on the other, an increase in the risk of political and social fragility. Iran and Turkey are among the countries whose level of social risk increased the most. Iran reinforced its position at the top of this indicator,” reads the report.

While referring to this report, RFI cited Khavand as saying: “An assessment of the current situation shows that the country’s economic situation is completely critical and on the verge of collapse. People’s purchasing power has dropped dramatically.  Unbridled inflation, poverty and unemployment, economic instability, lack of economic security combined with the reluctance of domestic investors to spend on production, lack of constructive interaction with the outside world, are some of the factors that have made the country’s economy helpless in the current situation.”

How Iran’s economic collapse affects people?

While the people are grappling with both poverty and the COVID-19 crisis, instead of distributing masks among people, mullahs have placed a fine for those not wearing masks. In this regard, the state-run Jahan-e Sanat on Tuesday wrote: “Countries that were successful in this regard first fortified the health infrastructure among the people and then imposed fines on those violating the health protocols. At present, the salary of a worker is 2,800,0000 rials, considering that the poverty line is 100,000,000 rials. Half of the people live in absolute poverty. A family of four in Tehran cannot afford to buy a disposable mask every day. To enact such laws, the government and the Ministry of Health must first consider some masks for the poor and then impose fines.