USAs siste sanksjon mot Iran biter. Valutaen rial har falt med 39 % siden mars og tilliten er synkende. Folk selger hva det skal være for å skaffe seg fremmed valuta.
Men regimet tør ikke innrømme av rialen er sterkt svekket. Den offisielle raten vekslingskursen ligger skyhøyt over kursen på svartebørsen.
Dette benytter regimets menn seg av, de har tilgang på hard valuta, og selger den til uoffisiell kurs, med enorm fortjeneste.
The 39 percent difference between the central bank’s official rate and market rates on Dec. 21 was the largest in almost two decades, economists in Tehran and Washington said in interviews.
U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said the gap between the two rates has provided an arbitrage opportunity exploited by officials and businesses affiliated with the IRGC, the elite military arm that’s under international sanctions for suspected nuclear weapons work and terrorism. They are among regime elements able to obtain foreign currency at the favorable official exchange rate and sell it for a profit in exchange bureaus at the market rate, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in written testimony Dec. 1.
“Ordinary Iranians are urgently seeking out foreign currency such as dollars or euros for safety, yet they are having trouble accessing hard currency, and when they can, they have to pay the unofficial market rate,” said Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
“At the same time, senior government officials and preferred businesses, including IRGC-owned and controlled operations, are able to access foreign exchange at the official rate, essentially engaging in profitable arbitrage on the back of the average Iranian,” according to Cohen.
The market value of the rial has been dropping for months. Iranians are reacting to the prospect that their government may be incapable of slowing the 19.8 percent inflation rate or improving the domestic economy, as the U.S. and Europe approved new sanctions on the banking system and discuss a possible European embargo of Iranian oil, Hossein Raghfar, an economist at Al Zahra University in Tehran, said in a telephone interview.
Ali Alfoneh, an Iran researcher and IRGC specialist at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said government institutions, including the IRGC, benefited from a similar currency situation during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. They were given preferential access to foreign currency at an official rate, which they used both to buy weapons overseas and to sell currency on the black market, he said.
It would “make sense” that the IRGC now is trying to do what it did in the 1980s, Alfoneh said in an interview. “In every single profitable industry in Iran, you see the IRGC. They are becoming more and more corrupt every day.”
“The wrong people are benefiting,” while ordinary Iranians suffer inflation, feeble economic growth and a decline in the rial brought on by sanctions, he said.
Growing public anger over the falling rial and growing opportunities for corruption are also feeding divisions within Iran’s leadership. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political rivals accuse him and his loyalists of economic mismanagement. The president and the central bank governor have disavowed blame for the fall of the rial.
As state television last week showed lines of people camped out with blankets overnight in front of state banks waiting to buy gold, Ahmadinejad accused unnamed culprits of seeking to drive down the rial and portray Iran “in a state of crisis,” the business paper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
Samtidig kom Ali Khameneis represent i Revolusjonsgarden til å si offentlig at regimet ikke våger å stille lederne for Den grønne bevegelsen, Karroubi og Mousavi, for retten, fordi de har stor folkelig støtte og faktisk også blant noen med turban, dvs de skriftlærde.
This debacle coincides with an amazing confession of weakness from the highest level of the regime: Ali Saeedi is the supreme leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, and since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei commands the Guards, Saeedi’s words are authoritative. Asked why Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi–the two Green Movement leaders who have been held in isolation for more than ten months—Saeedi publicly stated that it can’t be done, because the two have such powerful support. The opposition leaders can’t be prosecuted, he said, “because they have supporters and followers” as well as “a few turban-heads [clerics] who continue to back elements within the sedition.”