IRAN.- Iran's currency plummeted to a record low Monday, a week before the United States restores sanctions lifted under the unraveling nuclear deal, giving rise to fears of prolonged economic suffering and further civil unrest.
Already last month, protesters clashed with police outside parliament in Tehran in three days of demostrations sparked by the Iranian rial plunging to nearly 90,000 to the dollar. That followed country-wide economic protests in December and January, in which 25 protesters were killed and nearly 5,000 people were arrested.
The currency hit a new low on Monday, closing at 122,000 to the dollar on the thriving black market, rapidly dropping from 116,000 on Sunday and 98,000 on Saturday. The official exchange rate, available only to businesses with import and export licenses, was about 44,000 to the dollar on Monday, down from 35,000 on Jan. 1.
También te puede interesar: Caesars launching sports betting in New Jersey and Mississippi
Iranians have already seen their savings dwindle, and shopkeepers are increasingly refusing to sell certain goods, unsure of their true value. Many fear things will only get worse once the sanctions go into effect.
"If the rate keeps going up like this, nobody knows what is going to happen," said Tehran resident Rasool Shadi. "I think people should stop buying for a while. If they don't buy something, its price will definitely decrease."
The government last week replaced the country's central bank governor Valiollah Seif, whose policies have also been blamed for the rial's fall, and eased regulations on bringing foreign currencies into the country to combat black market trading.