Claimed photo of a lengthy queue outside an Iranian grocery, amid price rises and shortages of goods

Annual inflation in Iran has topped 42%, amid signs that the troubled economy is failing to cope with internal problems and US sanctions.

The Government Statistical Center announced the rate of 42.3% for the year ending February 20. Critical observers claimed the figure is conservative, as the Central Bank — which they consider more “realistic” — has been officially barred from publishing reports.

The Statistical Center said inflation for foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco is 32.5% with price rises up to 64.3% for some items.

Other official figures show a 136% rise in the price of tobacco, with fruit, vegetables, and furniture surging 67% to 82%. Officially beef prices are up 93%, but claims on social media say the increase is up to almost 400%, at $4.50 per pound ($10 per kilogram).

The average income of blue-collar workers is between $100-200 a month.

The Rouhani Government had presented the control of inflation as one of its greatest achievements. Inheriting a rate of more than 40% in 2013, the Government brought the level to single figures before the rate escalated last year.

Iranian media report long queues at stores and supermarkets. Videos are circulating which claim to be of Iranians denouncing high prices.

The International Monetary Fund, which estimated the inflation rate for 2018 at 29%, predicted an increase of 35% this year. However, the assessment may have overtaken because of renewed weakness in the Iranian currency, which has had a historic drop since January 2018.

The rial fell 75% to 190,000:1 against the US dollar last atumn. Government and Central Bank intervention to prop up the currency brought a recovery to about 110,000:1.

But in the last two weeks the effect of the intervention appears to have faded, with the rial down to 138,000:1 on Sunday morning — and EA sources inside Iran saying the “real” rate is above 160,000:1.

Iran Daily, Jan 18: Is Currency in Trouble Again?