The Iranian currency continues to fall against the dollar amid the unrest

CAIRO – Iran’s currency fell to a record low against the dollar on Sunday, and nationwide anti-government protests are now entering their third month. A failure of negotiations to restore the Tehran nuclear deal has also hurt the value of the rial.

Traders in Tehran exchanged the rial for around 370,000 to the dollar on Sunday, up from 368,000 on Thursday. The Iranian currency was trading at 32,000 riyals to the dollar at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal, which dropped international sanctions in exchange for tight controls on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has been gripped by nationwide protests since September. Demonstrations erupted following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s vice squad. She was arrested by the force for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women. The status of the vice squad remains unclear after Iran’s chief prosecutor, Mohamed Jafar Montazeri, said last week that the force was “closed”. Iranian state media have distanced themselves from Montazeri’s claim.

Protesters have directed much of their anger at the country’s stubborn policing and the entrenched power of its Islamic clergy. But the poor state of Iran’s economy is also another factor fueling the protests, with rising prices, high unemployment and corruption often being lamented among protesters.

The Iranian government has tried for months to argue that foreign nations are fueling the unrest, but has offered no evidence to support that claim.

So far, at least 485 people have been killed and over 18,200 others arrested in the protests and the ensuing crackdown by security forces, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that monitors the demonstrations. On Friday, Iran said it had executed the first person convicted of a crime allegedly committed during the protests. At least 12 other protesters have been sentenced to death by Iranian courts since the demonstrations began, according to HRNA.

Efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal stalled months ago. The United States and European Union have since imposed further sanctions on Tehran over its crackdown on protesters and its decision to supply Russia with hundreds of drones for its war against Ukraine.

Iran started building a new power plant last week. Last month, Iranian authorities said they had started producing enriched uranium at 60% purity, a short technical step away from a 90% weapons-grade grade.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. The Iranian currency continues to fall against the dollar amid the unrest

Sarah Y. Kim

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