The rapid and record fall of the Iranian currency has made many Iranians angry at President Hassan Rouhani, who has repeatedly dismissed the rise of the dollar against the rial as insignificant and transient.
On March 28, the Iranian currency, rial, hit a new low of 52,000 to the US dollar. The rial was around 38,000 to the dollar just a year ago.
While the Iranian people are celebrating Norooz, the new Persian year, they have turned up in thousands on social media to express their fury over what many have now dubbed as Rouhani’s campaign of “deceit and lies”.
A week earlier, in his New Year speech, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had admitted that the economy and people's livelihood were "the main issues of this year".
"I have given this year the name and motto of ‘Support for Iranian Products’,” Khamenei stated.
Now, with the rising dollar, many also mock Khamenei's message.
"I have given this year the name and motto of Purchase US Dollars", a citizen quipped, saying the reason Khamenei dubbed the new year the year of "Support for Iranian Products", is because you cannot buy foreign goods with Iran's worthless money.
At its record high, the US dollar-Iranian rial passed the 52,000 mark. Many shared the following pictures on social media. The tweet reads "One George Washington is worth 5,000 Khomeinis". Iranian use the term toman referring to their currency in unofficial conversations and each toman is 10 rials. Therefore, the dollar is now 5,200 tomans.
In the past, the rising dollar was usually followed by sky-rocketing prices, from accommodation and petroleum to groceries, that is why periods of such fluctuations directly influence the livelihood of the people and leave considerable psychological impact on the society.
In his presidential campaign, Hassan Rouhani famously announced that he intended to "return dignity to the Iranian passport".
One year into his second term in office, with the Iranian passport is more or less standing where it used to, the national currency is going a downward spiral. Scriptwriter Mehrab Ghasemkhani whose page is followed by 1.4 million users on Instagram blasted Rouhani for this utter failure:
"After Nowrooz holidays they are going to bring in their usual experts saying that the dollar and the housing bubble are going to burst in the coming weeks. The way that bubble would really pop is if the dollar becomes 4,000 tomans". But what will happen according to Ghasemkhani is that once the dollar reaches 5,500 tomans and then it goes down to 5,000, the government will claim victory and say we controlled the exchange rate. After a few weeks, the dollar will reach a new high and then they'll bring it down a bit and again claim victory.
Another, point of contention is how the nuclear deal between Iran and the word powers, the so called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, failed to achieve its highly expected objectives.
Almost each week there are reports of workers' protests all around the country due to unpaid wages and there is hardly anyone left, even among the conservative who has not expressed concern over the economic crisis which is looming over the Islamic Republic.
These days the likes of this tweet by Iranian netizens are ubiquitous:
"These days two things have become unpredictable:
1) The fate of JCPOA
2) Value of USD".