Iran’s currency hit a record low as tensions with the West escalated and unrest swept the country. On Sunday, the US dollar crossed 450,000 riyals for the first time on the open market. Former Iranian central bank governor Ali Salehbadi was sacked after the Rial was sharply devalued in late December, dropping to more than $440,000 against the dollar on the open market.
His replacement, Mohammad Reza Farzin, had vowed to artificially keep the rate of the currency at 285,000 Rials against the dollar for imports of essential goods in an effort to keep prices stable during a 40 percent inflation rate. As the rial went into another freefall on Saturday, the central bank claimed that 300 million euros ($326m) of Iran’s money in Iraq had been received, despite US sanctions, and injected into the market.
The devaluation of the Rial this week comes amid heightened tensions with the West and amid ongoing protests in Iran that began last September, which Tehran has accused the West of organizing. Earlier this week, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be designated a “terrorist” organization and to impose sanctions on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, and others.