Amid the ongoing economic crisis in Iran and a delay in the nuclear talks with the world powers, the US dollar rose to 275,000 rials on the Tehran foreign exchange market on Sunday, its highest level in almost ten months.
The dollar was quoted significantly lower in March and April at around 220,000 to 230,000 rials in the hope that the nuclear negotiations initiated in Vienna would lead to an agreement to revive the JCPOA or the 2015 agreement and to lift the crippling US sanctions. But Iran halted talks in June, saying its newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) needed time to form its foreign policy team.
Iran’s oil-dependent economy was hit hard when former President Donald Trump left the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed oil export sanctions on Tehran. Since then, Iran has lost at least $ 120 billion in oil revenues, according to its oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh Namdar.
Before Trump signaled his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA, the dollar was trading at 30,000 rilas, or nine times lower than it is today.
The decline in oil revenues has forced the government and central bank to print hundreds of trillion rials banknotes, fueling inflation, which according to official figures is hovering around 50 percent, which some say is less than the real rate hike.
While lifting US sanctions alone can improve the situation, Raisi has set up a business team dedicated to “self-reliance” and boosting domestic production with limited resources for investment.