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Iran: Despite Promises from the Raisi Administration, No Economic Improvements Have Been Made

More Iranian people are seen searching in trash for things to sell and make ends meet
More Iranian people are seen searching in trash for things to sell and make ends meet

With the dire state of the economy in Iran worsening day by day, more Iranian people are forced to search through piles of trash for items that they can sell to earn money to make ends meet and provide for their families.

When the Iranian regime’s President, Ebrahim Raisi and his administration came to power back in August, they promised to boost the country’s economy and reduce the livelihood and socio-economic problems faced by Iranian citizens.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said, “State media, however, while quoting the Regime Statistics Center and official government numbers, are reporting that the claims made by Raisi and members of the cabinet are wrong, and not only has the country’s economy and people’s livelihood not improved but inflation and commodity prices have risen.”

The state-run Etemad daily reported on November 14 that the increase of food and beverage prices from October 2020 to October 2021 was 61.4 percent, putting it in a ‘hyperinflation’ state which has crossed the limits of normal inflation.

The immense inflation rates have meant that, according to the Mostaghel daily in their November 16 report, “Very high cost of food and supplies, astronomical rents rate, travel costs, skyrocketing health care costs, … all are imposing enormous pressure on the middle class.”

The MEK said, “The economic situation is so dire that the regime, even through its own official statistics, is forced to acknowledge that conditions are now beyond the crisis.”

According to the Etemad daily in their November 14 report, despite Raisi’s cabinet’s promises, the daily increase of prices of basic goods within their first 100 days in office does not show that they have any improvements. Prices are set to skyrocket again as the preferential exchange rate is due to eliminated, leaving those below the poverty line extremely vulnerable.

For the poor and vulnerable citizens of Iran, the situation has reached the point that the quality of food obtained is no longer important, just as long as they can get enough to satisfy their daily needs. More and more members of society are falling way below the poverty line and are desperately struggling to make it out alive.

The MEK said, “The root of this situation is clear, even according to government experts, being institutionalized and structural corruption. As such, every economic project and plan in Iran, despite the quantity and quality, becomes a source for rent and looting by government officials.”

Member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), Mohsen Zanganeh stated in a report on the Eghtesad website that the distribution of around $55 billion based on the preferential exchange rate did not reduce prices, but instead caused ‘many cases of rent and economic corruption’.

Prices would have not skyrocketed throughout Iran as they did if the money was instead spent on buying basic goods for the Iranian people. Instead, the money was stolen by government-affiliated rent-seekers and imported goods were sold at many times higher than they should have been.

The MEK said, “Therefore, the economic road ahead for the mullahs’ regime will lead to a dead-end and escalating social tensions that bear dangerous potentials for the regime’s future. This undeniable reality has kept many senior regime officials awake at night.”

Severe Economic Consequences of Raisi’s Decision to Remove the Dollar Exchange Rate in Iran

Economic Consequences of Eliminating the Official Exchange Rate in Iran
Economic Consequences of Eliminating the Official Exchange Rate in Iran 

A plan has been introduced to the Iranian parliament, by the Iranian regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi, to remove the official dollar exchange rate of 42,000 rials. Many of the regime’s economic experts have warned that this dangerous decision will only increase inflation and the price of consumer goods in an already dying economy.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Iranians suffer from increasing inflation rates and skyrocketing prices. While there are several speculations about the origins of Iran’s economic crises, all clues hint at the regime’s plundering, corruption, and poor economic policies.”

The government of former president Hassan Rouhani made the decision to ‘unify’ the free market with the official exchange rate, which currently sits at 42,000 rials to $1. Rouhani’s decision originally only affected the import of essential goods, but once the regime recognizes other foreign exchange rates, the official rate soon became inefficient.

Prices began to skyrocket in Iran in January 2018, sparking major protests across the country. Once the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal later that year, and reimposed sanctions on the regime, the dollar exchange rate rose rapidly.

The NCRI said, “This official rate was supposed to be used to import the country’s essential materials, most notably food items. Many economic experts recognized this as unofficial subsidies intended to control the prices of essential goods. Yet, the official rate was used by the regime’s insiders to import luxury goods that ordinary Iranians could not afford.”

The Fars News Agency wrote last week that just in 2019, the regime spent around $15 billion on importing various items. This meant that then-president Rouhani ended up increasing the regime’s already high budget deficit, which was compensated by printing banknotes until this day. As a result of the increased liquidity, inflation and goods prices continue to skyrocket.

Rouhani’s administration ended up the NIMA rate, a Persian acronym for an online currency system launched by the regime’s Central Bank. This rate, which sat around 170,000 rials, allowed the Central Bank to pay for imports of essential goods, including food and medicine, despite the devaluation of the Iranian rial.

The NCRI said, “Fixing the dollar exchange rate and having various exchange rates led to corruption in the entire economic cycle, from import to distribution and sales.”

Iran’s ‘private sector’, which consists of front companies of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), were the businesses tasked with importing essential goods. They used the official exchange rate to create more profit for themselves, either by imported unnecessary luxury items or by later increasing the prices of goods when they went to market.

The regime initially planned to remove the official exchange rate during the last year of Rouhani’s administration, a decision which it was estimated that they could earn at least 600 trillion rials from, but ultimately that plan didn’t come into fruition. If Raisi’s current plan is followed through, his administration would earn around $2 billion.

Due to the rising devaluation of Iran’s currency, and the regime’s list of financing projects, the regime will not achieve much from removing the official exchange rate. However, the action would have a detrimental effect on Iran’s already declining economy and would further add to the restiveness of the Iranian people. The NCRI said, “Soon, people who have nothing to lose would come on the streets, and the regime knows this would end its 40 years of corruption and oppression. Therefore, the regime is shooting itself in the leg.”

Iranian Regime Fear Society as Economic and Social Crises Feed Frustrations

As the economic and social crises in Iran worsen day by day, the Iranian people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation and the Iranian regime and are on the verge of exploding into nationwide uprisings. Iran’s state media have stated that as the inflation rates rise, income inequality widens and unemployment levels worsen, society is being pushed further into poverty.
Tens of millions of Iranians live below the poverty line, but the mullahs’ regime continues to plunder Iran’s assets for its terrorist purposes, in addition to the massive corruption of its officials. This situation has often led to widespread popular uprisings against the regime.

As the economic and social crises in Iran worsen day by day, the Iranian people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation and the Iranian regime and are on the verge of exploding into nationwide uprisings. Iran’s state media have stated that as the inflation rates rise, income inequality widens and unemployment levels worsen, society is being pushed further into poverty.

The Setareh Sobh daily said that the main cause of poverty in Iran is the skyrocketing inflation rates, which has seen prices jump from 55% to more than 100%. They also discussed how the increased inflation is a result of the regime printing banknotes in order to compensate for their budget deficit, and that the high rates of unemployment in Iran are due to the devaluation of the country’s currency.

They said, “Banknote printing increased the liquidity rate, and since the high volume of liquidity was much higher than the country’s production rate, the inflation rate increased dramatically.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Due to the rising inflation rate and skyrocketing prices, people hardly make ends meet.”

The state-run Hamdeli daily wrote on Tuesday that psychologically, the Iranian society is becoming increasingly restless and angry. They said that according to Ali Asadi, the deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Office of Mental Health, Social Affairs and Addiction, the amount of people in Iran struggling with mental disorders is around 15 million. Of those suffering, he said that 25% of people suffer from mental disorders, that 60% of people do not realise they have a mental illness and 40% refuse to see a doctor about their issues, despite realising that there is a problem.

Hamdeli said, “Recently, the Iranian Student Opinion Polling Center (ISPA) published the results of a poll that showed that about 59% of citizens have no hope for a better future for the country. In this poll, 28.8% also believed that the situation in the country will be worse next year.”

The NCRI said, “The rising number of suicides in Iran is a testament to the Iranian people’s unhappy life under the mullahs’ regime. The ongoing social and economic crises have indeed increased the people’s anger toward the regime.”

Mohammad Hassan Asafari, an MP within the regime, spoke out on Sunday, acknowledging that the ‘army of unemployed youth’ is a threat towards the regime and their system. He warned that the educated youths who have top degrees and qualifications but have yet to find suitable work are a threat to the country ‘if the parliament and the government fail to address this issue’.

The state-run Arman daily echoed the regime’s fear that the restless society will soon erupt and that the oppressive measures taken by the regime to subdue them will no longer work.

They said, “Officials should accept that people live in the heart of society. Therefore, they feel the existing realities with their skin, flesh, and bones and of course, their five senses. They know they will become poorer over time.”

Angry Protesters in Iran Block Raisi’s Provincial Visit Amidst Current Economic Crises

Reisi's provincial trips do not open any knot of the severe economic crisis in Iran.
Reisi’s provincial trips do not open any knot of the severe economic crisis in Iran.

President of the Iranian regime, Ebrahim Raisi was met with angry protesters during his visit to Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province last Friday, October 1, 2021. The group of enraged citizens protested his presence in the region and purposely delayed his entry into town by blocking his vehicle.

This isn’t the first trip of Raisi’s that has been met with uproar from locals. Trips to Ilam and Tabas in recent months featured hordes of people protesting in the streets, displaying their hatred of the regime and its president.

Protests across Iran have increased greatly in the last few years, mostly due to the economic pressures that Iranians have had to endure due to the regime’s widespread corruption. In the previous administration, under former president Hassan Rouhani, the economic crises deepened year after year and caused two major uprisings during his tenure, in 2018 and 2019.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Raisi as the henchman of the 1988 massacre, is responsible for the execution of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).”

When Raisi was sworn in as the new regime president in August, he put the blame on Rouhani for the economic crises, but has yet to take any action to resolve the issues faced by Iranian citizens to this day.

The state-run Arman daily wrote in their publication on September 28 that since the new administration came to power, no changes have been made to the prices of basic needs of society and as a result, those prices have continued to skyrocket.

Engineered statistics from the regime have suggested that the inflation rate in Iran has increased to 45.8% since Raisi was inaugurated as their president in August. The prices of the living costs for Iranian citizens have skyrocketed in the past three years alone, going from 40 million tomans per year in 2018, to above 63 million tomans this year.

The NCRI said, “The poverty line has reached 10 million tomans. With a salary of 4 million tomans, the Iranian workers can hardly cover 30% of their living costs. This could happen if they receive their delayed wages.”

In the last decade, official statistics have highlighted that the price of red meat has increased 12 times, and the price of one egg has now reached 2,000 tomans.

As Iranians continue to suffer, and the economic crises worsen day after day, people are taking to the streets to protest to highlight their outrage and try and bring about change. State media and regime officials have been warning the top leaders of popular protests, as they fear nationwide uprisings taking place.

Former MP for the regime, Soheila Jolodarzadeh spoke last Thursday saying, “There is a limit to people’s patience in the face of difficulties, and people can endure to some extent. When they observe that they have nothing to lose, they do not want us to allow them to protest.”

Raisi and his administration have yet to come up with solutions to combat the current crises. Meanwhile, some officials have suggested that the only remedy is to negotiate with other world powers and accept the terms of the international community.

The NCRI said, “Khamenei knows that this could be a temporary solution to the current crisis. But he knows that accepting another chalice of poison by stopping the regime’s terrorist activities or nuclear program would increase his regime’s infightings and losing power components.”

Hollow Promises From Raisi as Economic Crises in Iran Decline Further

The economic crisis in Iran is due to the global crisis in the corrupt and plundering regime, which in the last four decades has done nothing but destroy Iran and plunder its resources for terrorism and acquire nuclear weapons and repression at home. The mass murderer Raisi can not do anything. Finally, he and the mullahs' regime will be overthrown.
The economic crisis in Iran is due to the global crisis in the corrupt and plundering regime, which in the last four decades has done nothing but destroy Iran and plunder its resources for terrorism and acquire nuclear weapons and repression at home. The mass murderer Raisi can not do anything. Finally, he and the mullahs’ regime will be overthrown.

As the current economic crises in Iran continue to worsen, the Iranian regime’s new president Ebrahim Raisi made a statement on Wednesday, September 29, saying that ‘the country’s inflation rate should be controlled and reduced’, however, he has yet to put into place any actions to resolve the crises.

The Arman daily stated in their publication on September 28 that since Raisi and his administration came into power, they have made no serious changes to tackle to inflation rates. The prices of even basic needs are still skyrocketing. They attribute the lack of progression to Raisi’s economic team, who all have varying views on how the economy should be run, leading to a deadlock in decisions.

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Maryam Rajavi, previously referred to the new presidential administration as the “embodiment of four decades of the religious and terrorist dictatorship of the mullahs, whose mission is to counter popular uprisings, plunder national wealth and resources, step up terrorism and warmongering, and expand the unpatriotic nuclear and missiles projects.”

The NCRI said, “Raisi’s Urban and Development Minister, Rostam Ghasemi, was prosecuted for corruption in Iran before the judiciary dropped all charges against him. Other officials of Raisi’s government, such his vice-president Mohammad Mokhber, have held top positions in the regime’s plundering institutions under the Supreme Leader’s provision, such as the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO).”

The Hamdeli daily published figures of how much basic diet staples have in risen in price during the past year. The price of rice, meat and poultry has seen a 40 to 50 percent increase. In August of last year, the price of fresh poultry was around 17,700 tomans, while a year later, this figure has increased to 27,000 thousand tomans.

The Arman daily wrote on Tuesday that, “The shrinking of the people’s table has created sensitivities. Although the reasons for this situation are clear to economists, ordinary people ask themselves that the inflation rate in Iran is even higher than in neighboring countries, which have much worse conditions than Iran.”

The NCRI said, “The real reason for Iran’s rising inflation rate is the ongoing liquidity growth, which is far above the production rate.”

In order to compensate for the country’s budget deficit, the regime started printing banknotes which has led to a sharp increase in Iran’s GDP and liquidity, and in turn, has led to the skyrocketing inflation rates.

The Jahan-e Sanat daily explained that, “inflation is not a cause itself. It is the result of a series of economic behaviors such as the growth of the monetary base and liquidity. When money is printed and circulates in the economy instead of leading to production growth, it results in inflation growth.”

Considering the depth of the current crises Iranians are dealing with, the Arman Daily warned Raisi and his administration that they will not be able to boost people’s trust without finding solutions to fix the problems. Speeches and hollow promises will only worsen the public’s distrust ‘and the distance between the people and the officials will increase’.

Former MP for the regime, Soheila Jolodarzadeh said, “If [the regime does not] act or think about the situation, we will face popular protests; Given the economic conditions of the majority of people, it is safe to say that the entire society lives below the poverty line.”

Raisi Makes Hollow Promises as Iran’s Economic Crises Continues

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported on August 31 that the current dire situation with the Iranian economy has now hit its worst point, following decades of institutionalized corruption within the Iranian regime at the hands of the mullahs.

Iran’s Economic Crises and Raisi’s Hollow Promises
Iran’s Economic Crises and Raisi’s Hollow Promises

The NCRI said, “While all economic indicators underline that the regime has no solutions for Iran’s economic crises, the regime’s new president Ebrahim Raisi bogusly claims he will resolve economic issues.”

Iranian citizens take to the streets daily to protest as many workers face extreme poverty and are struggling to make ends meet. Speaking of these protests, the Etemad daily wrote in their publication last Saturday that, “The retirement funds are on the verge of collapse, with trillions of dollars’ worth of uncleared debts. Due to the emptiness of the treasury, the country’s welfare organization cannot provide adequate services to its target population.” 

Quoting the Etemad daily, the NCRI said, “The result of these problems are long queues of people, in offices of the Imam Khomeini’s Relief Committee, waiting to become beneficiaries of this institutions.”

In a report from the Khomeini Relief Committee, it said that estimates indicated that between 2001 and 2019 up to 33% of Iran’s population fell below the poverty line. In 2011, the poverty line lay at an income of 950 thousand tomans. By 2020, that figure had sky-rocketed to 10 million tomans, a staggering inflation rate in just 9 years.

Etemad daily wrote, “Today, poverty has a broader meaning than material poverty, including lack of access to safe water, nutrition, health services, education, clothing and shelter, social insurance, and employment. Poverty can be defined in at least four dimensions: lack of economic, cultural, and social capital.”

The state-run Setar-e Sobh published comments from an economist who blamed the problems face in Iran on the decisions made by the government and high officials who ‘determine the course of the economy’.

The NCRI said, “The so-called private companies or institutions such as Imam Khomeini’s Relief Committee are linked to Khamenei or Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). In other words, Raisi, who is Khamenei’s handpicked president, would never resolve Iran’s economic problems since his master and the IRGC create these problems.”

Another state-run media outlet, Aftab-e Yazd questioned why a Chief for the Central Bank has yet to be appointed, at a time when the value of the national currency is declining and the rate of inflation needs to be controlled.

The Jahan-e Sanat daily criticized the Iranian government, specifically Raisi, for their decision to withdraw money from Iran’s resources to fund their ‘projects’. They asked if the officials were ‘willing to live under the burden of staggering costs such as housing and food and have no prospects for the future of themselves and their children’, in order to understand how serious the situation is that they have created.

The NCRI said, “While factional feuds for achieving the lion share of Iran’s resources and wealth increase, state media of both factions warn that the ongoing economic crises increase people’s hatred toward the regime. And this would have irreparable consequences for the regime.”  

Iran’s Regime Media Warns of Problems Following Economic Crisis

In the days following the Iranian election, the state-run media have begun to write about the economic crises plaguing the country and how new president Ebrahim Raisi will be unable to fix the situation.

The Donyay-e Eghtesad newspaper wrote on Saturday: “There are also problems for the future president. The poor state of macroeconomic indicators, the closing of the demographic window, declining household incomes and social crises, social security and troubled pension funds, declining oil revenues, negative capital growth, and finally environmental challenges are all threats to the future government.”

While the Eghtesad-e Pouya wrote Tuesday that the country is seeing increased unemployment, along with many workers not having received their wages and bonuses for many months. This, the paper wrote, has “caused people’s tables to shrink”, especially as inflation reached 39% in 2020 and the poverty line topped 12 million tomans.  The paper explained that even with salaries increasing by 40% this year, salaries still only cover about one-third of monthly expenses.

The Eghtesad-e Pouya continued by saying that prices are growing exponentially because the inflation rate is increasing and that this only makes poverty more visible through social crises, like a rise in suicides because of poverty and sex work through necessity.

The Iranian Resistance agreed that the rising inflation rate is having a massive impact on the people and explained that the main reason is banknote printing by the regime, which the mullahs do to make up their budget shortfall. This causes liquidity to increase above the domestic production rate.

The Frahikhtegan daily wrote earlier this month: “In our economy, even in years when the growth of the monetary base was low and reasonable, liquidity has increased. For example, the monetary statistics in 2014, in which the growth of the monetary base was 10%, but the growth of liquidity was 31% confirms this fact. Therefore, in the absence of budget deficits or sanctions, what has led to chronic inflation is the banking system.”

The Resistance said that the economic crises, along with all the other issues facing the people, have turned the country into a “powder keg” ready to explode because they do not trust the regime to fix their problems, especially because the mullahs are actually the cause of the issues. This is demonstrated by the nationwide boycott of the elections.

Even the state media are warning the regime about the backlash they will face from the people.

Iran’s Regime State Media Speak Out on Economic Crisis

The Iranian regime’s state media have begun to speak about the economic crisis plaguing the country and how the officials are creating many of the problems through their corruption

The Sharq daily wrote on Sunday, May 30, 2021, that the cost of many essential goods jumped by a few hundred per cent over the past year, citing statistics from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade.

It explained: “The prices of some types of livestock and poultry feed, fruits, legumes and rice, oil, live poultry as well as metal in 2020 have increased by more than 100%. The price of 41 goods has increased by 50 to 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, the Setar-e Sobh daily wrote about a report from the Statistics Center on the inflation rate in various Iranian provinces, where it was established that inflation from May 2020-2021 was 41%.

The Mostaghel daily wrote on Monday, May 31, that Iran is in a “disappointing situation”, according to global development indicators, ranking 181st out of 202 countries and that this would be more obvious during the election campaign.

Regime economist Vahid Shaghaghi said: “Iran’s economy has several super-crises and challenges. In the next decade, we face four crises in the first layer: water crisis, population crisis, pension fund crisis, and the end of the oil export crisis. In the second layer, we have a super-challenge called imbalance and the challenge of the banking system. In the third layer, we face challenges such as poor business climate, growing inequality, youth unemployment, pollutants, and environmental issues, and economic corruption.”

Meanwhile, the ILNA News Agency wrote about the regime’s “Empowerment and sustainability of the Social Security Organization” plan, which would attack the salaries of working-class Iranians and threatens the lives of over 14 million employees by removing the minimum wage, legalising child labour, and eliminating pensions.

The ILNA wrote: “[The current] wage of 4 million Tomans is severely insufficient and hardly covers half of the minimum livelihood costs. With this plan, employers can pay only one or a maximum of two million Tomans to the unskilled workers whose bargaining power is severely limited in the community and outside the workshop.”

As the economy worsens, the Iranian people are getting angrier and are likely to revolt.

The Ebtekar daily wrote: “The fear that seems to have engulfed a large part of Iranian society has made people worry about the indefinable futures and is slowly sowing the seeds of despair in their hearts. This despair undoubtedly turns into uncontrollable anger soon, and it will be very difficult to handle.”

Iran’s Economic Crises: The Reason

The economic crises in Iran have pushed more and more people below the poverty line and spurred the public into a widespread boycott of the presidential election next month.

While Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei needs a high voter turnout to provide legitimacy to his regime amid increased international isolation, the people have been using their near-daily protests to chant that they will not be voting next month because they’ve “heard enough lies” and “have not seen any justice”.

The state-run Mostaghel daily wrote last month: “The presidential elections have the unprecedented situation in terms of people’s unwillingness to participate.”

The election boycott, foreshadowed by the low turnout at the parliamentary elections in February 2020, is not the result of one issue, but rather several important factors; including oppression, human rights abuse, and the lack of democracy. The economic problems were just the last straw and the fact that they are solely the result of regime corruption and mismanagement solidified that the regime was the main abusers of the people.

Let’s look at just some of the economic problems in Iran here.

Former Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhundi admitted last month that inflation has been 18% on average for the past 52 years, which is shocking enough until you consider that essentially the inflation rate is 546845% compared with 1969. He also advised that investment over the past nine years have been at -6.8%, which means that it’s 52% than it was in 2011, while inflation will be over 40% next year compared with 2021, which will only increase the number of people living in absolute poverty.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said in January: “Our budget’s infrastructure is damaged. Look at the infrastructure of this year’s budget. It is record-breaking for its kind. It indicates there is a 36% difference between [public] salaries and expenses.”

Ghalibaf said in March: “Our problem is not lacking money, and we have problems even when we do have money. On one side, there are mountains of wealth. On the other side, there is poverty.”

In a report from the Parliament’s Research Center, entitled “Image of the country’s economic situation: Challenges and Strategies”, it said:

  • Iran’s gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced there in one year, fell by about 7.5% in 2019 because of a lack of purchasing power
  • Inflation is at 20% per year on average, compared with 3-4% for the world as a whole, giving Iran the fourth-highest inflation rate in the world
  • Liquidity has now reached over 2500 thousand billion tomans or 10 times what it was in 1979, while the volume of national production is just five times what it was then. In fact, liquidity growth reached 31% in 2019
  • The exchange rate has tanked against foreign currencies

The Iranian Resistance wrote: “The regime has plundered Iran’s national wealth to fund its illicit and malign activities, such as export of terrorism, racing toward a nuclear weapon, and manufacturing ballistic missiles. This is in addition to the regime’s institutionalized corruption, which devours billions of dollars a year. It is now becoming clear why Iranians are willing to boycott the regime’s sham presidential elections.”

The Cause of Iran’s Economic Crisis

For years, the economic crisis in Iran has been growing. Officials have long sought to blame this on international sanctions in order to hide the fact that the regime’s economic policies are at fault.

How else would you explain that there was not even a small let up in the problems following the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, which led to sanctions being removed? In fact, the Iranian people took to the streets over inflation, poverty, and unemployment in December 2017, several months before the US pulled out of the deal and reinstated some of the sanctions.

The uprising quickly became about regime overthrow, but the first protest was centred on economic and as protesters across the years have made clear, mismanagement and corruption is the cause, not sanctions. That’s why Iranians broadly supported the reintroduction of sanctions, chanting “the enemy is here; they are lying when they say it is America”.

The regime’s lies about sanctions are being openly contradicted by the people, political activists, and even their own economists. A number of these economists even sought to quantify how longstanding corruption in both the government and the so-called private sector is damaging the economy.

Farshad Momeni, an economics professor at Allameh Tabatabai University, said: “Iran’s political economy has been increasingly taken over by the mafia from the end of the Iran-Iraq war until today.”

He noted that “privatization” of government industries has only put more wealth into the pockets of regime affiliates, including the IRGC which now controls about half of Iran’s gross domestic product.

In fact, from 1991 until 2019, 900 projects, companies, and enterprises worth $170 billion were moved from the state sector to the private sector. And that doesn’t even account for the money from import and export or smuggling.

Iran’s Central Bank said the country earned $180 billion from exports in 2018 and 2019, but they don’t know where all the money went. The Iranian Resistance believes that it’s lining the coffers of “IRGC financial institutions and so-called religious foundations controlled by… Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei”.

The Resistance said: “Approximately 80 per cent of Iran’s population is living under the poverty line, and the situation is growing steadily worse as a result of runaway inflation and rising commodity prices. Many citizens have been forced to remove vital staples from their diet, and pensioners throughout the country have staged months of protests calling attention to the fact that their income is not keeping up with the rising cost of living. Those protests are a likely indicator that broader unrest is looming, as the people’s concerns over the coronavirus are overtaken by the effects of economic hardship and the lingering resentments regarding crackdowns on prior uprisings.”