US Pullout from Nuclear Deal Amplifies Iranians' Suffering

US Pullout from Nuclear Deal Amplifies Iranians' Suffering

Saturday, 12 May, 2018 - 10:45
A blind man plays the harmonica at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA
Tehran- Faraz Safaei
Right off the side of one of Tehran’s streets sits a 40-year-old Mohammed wearing a denim jeans shirt and holding a stack of banknotes.

Fitting the character of a currency exchange dealer, I approach Mohammed asking for dollar bills.

“It’s nowhere to be found,” he responds with echoed frustration.

“These days everyone is intimidated by vague currency and police prices,” he continued explaining.

He insisted on its unavailability despite his pressing need for a US buck.

But unwavering urgency finally tempted him to make an offer set at an outrageous 74,000 Iranian riyals.

His sole attempt at selling the rate was short to a warning, saying that rocketing rates will make the cost of securing a dollar even steeper an hour later.

“There is no news here about government promises, and everyone made Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri’s announcement of pumping dollars into the markets at a fixed price a laughingstock,” said Mohammed.

These days, the dollar is selling at double the government's market price.

“Markets have been in burning anguish for days since the US announced withdrawing from the nuclear agreement and from the markets—it has not calmed down since.”

“The Trump exit from the nuclear agreement has sparked fires that are devouring markets.”

On the other hand, gold traders say the metal’s rates change at rapid rates, sometimes with windows as tight as less than an hour.

Although more expensive gold might provide security to the buyer, it hampers the dealer’s operations.

“It harms the trader, as they have to keep money in banks…. By and by they purchase less gold with their capital to survive against a declining currency,” said one of Tehran’s gold shop owners.

Iranian currency fell within 25 weeks, losing almost 100 percent of its value. Last December, the dollar stood at 36,000 Iranian riyals. now, it sells at rates over 70,000 riyals.

But senior officials insist on denying the market struggle.

“Who says that the price of the dollar has shot up?” Jahangiri said a few days ago.

After denying everything, he insisted that the dollar was at 42,000 Iranian riyals, saying that other prices were mere rumors.

Debunking authorities’ claims on the markets doing fine, both the public and rising commodity prices say a lot about Iran’s economic standing today.

Samsung devices, for instance, have experienced a 90 percent increase in rates within a week.

The market is so volatile that salespeople are forced at points to halt dealings as long as hours, said a Tehran shop owner.

Economics Professor at a Tehran university says the government has pumped up dollars to prevent its prices from exploding. However, the market is inflamed.

Warning that this is only the beginning, the academic who chose to remain unnamed, says that it’ll be far worse in two weeks later, as some of the sanctions will go into implementation.

Since Monday, another pain has been added to the suffering of the people. As for the Iranian-Israeli confrontation in Syria, the Iranians are concerned that the skirmishes turn into war.

Iran’s public being spread too thin has expressed no appetite for war, especially after being left with international media reports saying that an Iran-Israel direct confrontation can be right around the corner.

Instead, Iranians are praying that war doesn’t break out saying that it will only exhaust the people further.

“No war! God is keeping us from war; our backs will split (referring to a harsher economic environment) if war begins,” said another Tehran gold shop owner.

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