Iran’s currency hits new low amid anti-government protests

Feb 25, 2023, 12:50 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2023, 3:37 am
This is a locator map for Iran with its capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)...

This is a locator map for Iran with its capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s currency fell to a new record low on Sunday, plunging to 600,000 to the dollar for the first time as the effects of nationwide anti-government protests and the breakdown of the 2015 nuclear deal continued to roil the economy.

Iranians have formed long lines in front of exchange offices in recent days, hoping to acquire increasingly scarce dollars. Many have seen their life savings evaporate as the local currency has deteriorated. Inflation reached 53.4% in January, up from 41.4% two years ago, according to Iran’s statistics center.

The dire economic conditions have contributed to widespread anger at the government, but have also forced many Iranians to focus on putting food on the table rather than engaging in high-risk political activism amid a fierce crackdown on dissent.

Iran’s currency was trading at 32,000 rials to the dollar when it signed the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. The agreement lifted international sanctions in return for strict limits on and surveillance of its nuclear activities.

The agreement unraveled when then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from it and restored crippling sanctions. Iran responded by ramping up its enrichment of uranium, and now has enough for “several” atomic weapons if it chooses to develop them, according to the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.

Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but experts say it had a nuclear weapons program until 2003 and is developing a breakout capacity that could allow it to quickly build an atomic weapon should it decide to do so.

The Biden administration supports a return to the 2015 agreement, but negotiations hit an impasse last year and appear to have ground to a halt. Iran has further angered Western countries by supplying armed drones to Russia that have been used in its invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Iran has seen waves of anti-government protests since the September death of a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict Islamic dress code.

The protests rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling Shiite clerics, marking a major challenge to their four-decade rule. Iran’ has blamed the unrest on foreign powers, casting it as an extension of the sanctions, without providing evidence.

The Trump administration had hoped that maximum sanctions would force Iran to make major concessions on its nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program and its military involvement in countries across the Middle East, but it has yet to do so.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
8 hours ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
1 day ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
2 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
2 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
3 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Iran’s currency hits new low amid anti-government protests