The value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has plunged, losing nearly a third of its value. Protesters upset about the downturn in the economy are caught up in clashes with the police, resulting in many shop closures in the Iranian capital’s main market.
Voice of America’s Susan Yackee spoke with Hooshang Amirahmadi, a professor with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, about the downturn. According to Amirahmadi, the steep drop of the Iranian currency value is a result of three factors.
Three factors made society ‘go deep into crisis’
One [factor] is obviously dictating sanctions, particularly on oil, exports and the banking system. Second: mismanagement of the economy, which is very badly mismanaged. The third factor is political polarization among the elite groups in the Islamic Republic. These three factors have combined to make society at large, in every aspect, go deep into crisis – not just a crisis of the collapse of Iran’s currency, versus the matter of inflation, but a combination of foreign policy crises, economic crises, and political crises which have come together to produce the disturbances in Tehran that we saw.
‘This is the beginning of serious trouble’
Obviously this is the beginning of a major movement. The fact is that first the students, middle class, intellectuals and others were in the streets. Now, the Bazariis – the average people – are. It all depends on how society is managed from now on, how the government really makes sure that things are under control. By under control, I mean in real terms, not just by use of force. I think the Islamic Republic still has quite a bit of staying power. I don’t think this is the end of the regime or the beginning of a revolution, but I think it is the beginning of serious trouble. I think in the next year or so, we will witness increasing and intensified problems of this sort.
Listen to the interview with Hooshang Amirahmadi (4:14):
Susan Yackee is anchor of VOA's International Edition radio show. She has been a reporter in the Washington area for more than 35 years and regularly interviews newsmakers and analysts in DC and around the world. Susan works in television, radio and social media.