Photo: Karim Sahib (AFP)
The head of Iran’s Central Bank has said that the economic crisis is “beyond control”, as the currency plummets to a new historic low.
Abdolnaser Hemmati said in an Instagram post on Friday that the economy is “under the most severe pressures” and “many factors are beyond control”.
This morning the Iranian rial is at 264,500:1 v. the US dollar, a further fall of more than 5% in 24 hours.
Iran is suffering from long-term problems of production, trade, investment, and employment, compounded by comprehensive US sanctions imposed in November 2018.
Oil sales have been slashed by up to 95% since April 2018. Exports to China, Iran’s largest customer, fell by 61% between January and July. They dropped by more than 75% with Turkey, and by more than 95% with India, South Korea, and Japan.
The currency, which was already at an all-time low of 45,000:1 in early 2018, stood at 150,000:1 in March.
It sank to almost 250,000:1 in July. A Central Bank injection of about $1 billion into currency markets brought a limited recovery, but the rial began diving again early this month. On Tuesday, it broke the 250,000:1 mark.
Rouhani: Friendly Countries “Succumbed to US Pressure and Oppression”
On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani lashed out, not only at the US but also at “friendly countries” who have frozen Iran’s assets.
There are countries which are our friends. Our money is in their banks and they have blocked our money and they are not ready to unfreeze it.
They say the Americans are putting us under pressure, telling them it will take punitive measures if they unfreeze Iran’s money. So, they have succumbed to US pressure and oppression.
Iranian officials have threatened to sue South Korea for refusing to release reveneues from oil sales, held in bank accounts in Seoul.
Claiming that US sanctions are preventing the import of vital medicines, Rouhani said, “They have distanced themselves from humanity as far as this. The White House today has no sense of humanity. If it had had a sense of humanity, it wouldn’t have done this.”