Uncertainty from Washington, DC, due to the Trump administration’s possible withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear Iran deal resulted in a drop of the Iranian rial to a record low on Monday.
According to the AFP, the rial “broke through the 50,000-to-the-dollar mark for the first time” against the U.S. dollar in response to President Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor and Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and fear that the U.S. might withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is officially known.
Bolton is considered a harsh critic of the Iranian regime. In January, Bolton spoke of the mass uprisings throughout Iran, which began on December 28, as a “turning point in history.”
“I think it’s very clear that these outpourings of popular opinion present a dagger pointed at the heart of its mullah’s regime. They have crossed an important line here,” Bolton added. “I think what the people are reflecting is the result of decades of mismanagement by the ayatollahs … that has resulted in massive corruption.”
Although growing economic problems triggered the recent protests, with issues of inflation and everyday Iranians’ inability to put food on the table, the uprisings quickly shifted focus onto human rights abuses and widespread disapproval for Iran’s proxy wars in various countries throughout the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. The people of Iran have continuously called for a stop to the regime’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on spreading terror and war abroad, instead of stimulating the economy at home.
According to the AFP, Locals reportedly believe Iranians are hoarding billions of dollars as banks run out of cash.
Navid Kalhor, a Tehran-based financial analyst, told the AFP, “I have friends who go to banks and ask for 15 or 20 million rials ($300 or $400) and they’re told to come back in a week because they’re out of cash.”
These are indicators that if the financial unrest continues, more protests could be on the horizon.
Iran’s state-run news agencies have not taken kindly to Bolton’s appointment.
Tasnim News Agency ran a headline on Monday which read, “Bolton Actively Supporting Terror Groups: US Political Scientist,” referring to his 2017 speech at a conference held by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group. The Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which is part of NCRI, was listed as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) under former President Bill Clinton on July 8, 1997, and delisted on September 28, 2012, under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Breitbart News has reported that “the MEK had initially helped with the overthrow of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but it broke with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and thousands of the group’s members went into hiding in 1981, two years after the Iranian Revolution.”