Iran Currency Hits Major Low

As Iranians were poised for a 2-week holiday to celebrate the Persian New Year, the country’s currency dropped to a record low, the Associated Press reported.

The Iranian rial fell to 613,500 to the US dollar on March 23 just as Iranians were trying to exchange money for foreign currency to travel during the Nowruz holiday, which runs from March 20 to April 2.

According to an employee from one of the exchange shops on Ferdowsi Street in Tehran, the holiday played a part in the drop in the exchange rate.

He told the Associated Press that there was a high demand for purchasing dollars but very few exchange shops were open due to the holiday.

The Nowruz holiday is one opportunity for Iranians to travel abroad, pushing up demand for Euros and US dollars.

On March 18, the final workday before the holiday, the exchange rate was 590,000 rials to the US dollar. The exchange rate also impacts other Iranian markets, including housing.

As Iran’s currency has depreciated in recent years, many Iranians lost their life savings.

The rial is worth only about 1/20 as much as it was nine years ago when Iran signed the nuclear deal with the West.

The rial’s value plummeted from 32,000 to the dollar in 2015 to hundreds of thousands of rials to the dollar today. In February of last year, the rial dropped to its previous record low of 600,000 to the dollar. Since then, the rial has not risen above 439,000 to the dollar.

Iran’s dire economic situation, including an inflation rate of more than 32 percent, has contributed to the widespread discontent among the Iranian people. At the same time, with costs increasing, many Iranians have prioritized economic issues, like putting food on the table, over engaging in political protests, especially in light of the government’s crackdown on political activism.