RFL/RE – Iran’s national currency, the rial, fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar amid a wave of protests triggered by the death in custody of a young woman.
The rial traded at 331,800 to the dollar on October 3, according to traders in Tehran and the Bonbast.com foreign-exchange website, down from the quoted price of 316,800 a week ago. At the start of September, the rial was at 298,200 to the dollar.
The weakening of the currency has intensified since widespread protests over the death of a young woman in police custody for reportedly improperly wearing a hijab, along with reports about the end of hopes for a revival of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and global powers.
Anger over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 has swept the country, with demonstrations in cities across Iran, including on October 2 when security forces in Tehran cracked down on hundreds of university students overnight.
Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking the protests and last week said nine foreign nationals — including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland — had been arrested.
When the 2015 nuclear deal was signed with world powers, the rial was trading at 32,000 to the dollar. The agreement gave Tehran relief from financial sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The accord collapsed in 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed crippling sanctions that have battered Iran’s economy and its currency. After Washington withdrew, Iran began to breach some of the pact’s nuclear limits saying they could no longer be enforced.