Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri has apologized to Iranians over economic problems in the face of US sanctions, assuring that state authorities are working “day and night” to tackle them.
“I apologize to the honorable people for some problems and assure that the country’s management and, at the helm, the Eminent Leader are working day and night so that we can remove the problems before the country,” he said Tuesday.
The fall of Iran’s currency following US President Donald Trump’s imposition of new sanctions on the country has resulted in steep rises in the prices of commodities and led to a surge in the cost of living.
Jahangiri said the government is aware of the conditions and difficulties faced by the people.
“Part of these hardships is the result of US sanctions and pressures, but what’s important is that Iran has a lot of potentials and capacities, and in addition to these capacities, there is an enormous manpower in the country,” he added.
His remarks, made during a ceremony to open 1700 educational and sporting centers across the country, came amid criticism of the government’s perceived failure to associate with the people and talk to them about the situation.
Several officials have blamed “enemies” for the problems, but Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in August that “more than the sanctions, economic mismanagement is putting pressure on ordinary Iranians”.
“I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Iranian rial’s fall has presented the government of President Hassan Rouhani with possibly the most serious quandary.
Its bid in April to engineer a controlled depreciation of the rial in order to prop up the export sector and attract hard currency into the country to offset the fallout from Trump’s reimposition of sanctions badly backfired. The move generated an underground network of forex sellers who stoked further depreciation of the national currency.
A sharp rial drop resulted in a jump in inflation rates as consumer prices grew, forcing the government to replace the governor of the central bank.
The national currency strengthened 13.72% against the dollar at 109,000 after hitting the record low of more than 120,000 on the unofficial market on Monday.
The government is currently on damage control, implementing a series of measures which are beginning to bear fruit, helping the rial claw back some losses.
On Saturday, a top body headed by Rouhani and the heads of parliament and the judiciary gave the central bank governor the necessary authority to intervene in the foreign exchange market and to manage it.
The decision on the first trading day of the week saw the rial recoup some of its losses and trade at around 174,300 per dollar.
The resurgence continued on Tuesday, with the greenback slumping to around 105,000 rials, the Fars news agency reported.
Iran’s Judiciary is also coming down heavily on those disrupting the currency market. On Sunday, it handed down death sentences to three people convicted of economic corruption.
The decision has generated a lot of optimism among ordinary Iranians who had been calling for stringent measures to stem corruption and speculation against the national currency.