Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, May 18, 2020—During Saturday’s Coronavirus Task Force meeting, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani confirmed a Reuters report stating Iran's oil exports have dropped to 70,000 barrels per day in April.
Rouhani said: “If we rely solely on the oil barrel, we will have problems.” This means that the regime has given up on oil revenues. The regime had predicated the 2020 budget on exporting one million barrels of oil per day at $50 a piece. The regime had hoped for a total of $18 billion of revenue from oil exports. But given the sudden drop in oil prices during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no chance that the regime can amass that revenue, even if it reaches its desired volume of exports. In the best-case scenario, the regime will only get $250 million in a year, one-seventieth of what it had anticipated. Now the question is, how does the regime want to fill this gap and continue its economic life?
Rouhani emphasized: “In the country, we need to produce goods, export them and the currency resulting from exports, and we all need to fulfill the slogan of Surge in Production put forward by the Supreme Leader for this year.”
The question is while production is largely lost under smuggled imports by government-linked institutions, especially smuggled imports without tariffs, which exports is Rouhani talking about? He basically means exporting food and agricultural products. The same food products that are missing from the people’s tables.
Last year, the people in border areas in Kurdistan region stopped a convoy of hundreds of trucks carrying potatoes to Iraq, because at that time, potatoes inside the country were scarce and expensive. But the regime only thinks about its own interests and not the Iranian people and is exporting the basic products to other countries.
Ironically, at the same time that the regime is exporting food, it is importing the same items from abroad. The ruling mafia gangs import a variety of goods into the country without paying customs at the border. The huge amount of imports, recently announced by the Parliamentary Research Commission in 2016 and 2017, was more than $25 billion and has led to the collapse of domestic production. After the drop in prices of domestic products, the import gangs, mainly affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, get involved as buyers and buy the agricultural products at a much lower price from farmers and they export it at a greater price to other countries.
Even in these days, in social media, we have seen the painful images of deprived and helpless farmers who, out of anger and frustration, throw their products on roads or destroy them.
But that is not the whole story of the looted economy, whose main victims are the weakest and most deprived classes of the society.
While the minimum wage of workers is set at 18 million rials, and this, according to the regime's own sources, covers only a quarter of the living needs of workers, the regime is constantly to steal what little income labor-class families have. This criminal act is done through the natural and deliberate increase of currency prices. In recent months, the dollar rate has risen from 120,000-130,000 rials to more than 175,000 rials, which has resulted in a sharp decrease in the purchasing power of the people. Some of the regime’s economic experts revealed that to cover its budget deficit, the Rouhani government is entertaining thoughts of raising the price of the U.S. dollar to 250,000 rials. This is similar to what the regime did in 2018 by raising dollars rate from 30,000 to 180,000 to 190,000 tomans and reduced the salaries of people to one-fifth or less.
At the same time, political and economic experts of the regime are constantly asking the question: To what extent the Iranian society can tolerate this? Many warn that this has reached its threshold and an uprising at the scale of the December 2017 and November 2019 unrests—or maybe bigger—is looming on the horizon.