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From celebrations to price increases. How did the Iranians fare under Rouhani?


Immediately after the election of pro-center Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, the country’s football team won a ticket to the World Cup, which many said the new leader had brought them success.

After the deterioration of relations with the West under the militant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-Nejad regime, many citizens believed that Rouhani’s election signaled a return to normalcy. People were dancing in the streets when the new president promised to “open” Iran’s problems. They hoped to improve relations between the “west” of the theocratic state.

In his first press conference as president, Rouhani said the election “seems to have opened a new chapter” [voters] they shouted that their suffering was over. ” He added. “The government of your wisdom and hope will live up to its promise to save the country’s economy, revive ethics, and establish constructive cooperation with the world.”

Now that Rouhani is set to step down after the June 18 presidential election, data show that the now deeply unpopular leader has failed to deliver on many of his promises.

1. Debt shelves

Rouhani came to power in 2013, promising to start negotiations with Washington and other world powers to lift economic sanctions. As a result of his efforts, a historic nuclear deal was reached in 2015, easing restrictions, and Iran responded by suspending its nuclear activities. Oil sales soared. But when Donald Trump dropped the deal in 2018, oil sales fell again, along with Iran’s revenue.

Since then, the government has sought to diversify non-oil exports, increase corporate taxes and put pressure on struggling small businesses. The government has accelerated the privatization of state-owned companies. As a result, most Iranians have invested their savings in the stock market Analysts say the market is at risk if it collapses.

2. Economy in decline

GDP fell after the United States withdrew from the deal, destroying the economic gains recorded at the first signing of the agreement. Foreign investment has plummeted. France’s Total, Peugeot, Renault were the first to enter the Iranian market after the nuclear deal, and were the first to leave when it collapsed. Then came the epidemic, exacerbating economic disasters.

Gross domestic product line chart, current purchasing power parity prices (again), showing that Iran's economy lags behind the rest of the region

During Rouhani’s tenure, youth unemployment remained high at an average of 22 percent. Analysts describe this army of young, unemployed Iranians as a time bomb. In 2017 և again in 2019, poorer young people led the riots that took place The biggest and deadliest economic protests in the history of the Islamic Republic,

3. Log in և configure it

One of the major achievements of the Rouhani government is the expansion of Internet use. The country with a population of about 85 million has almost 95 million broadband internet subscribers. Many people buy fixed: mobile deals, which is 20 times more per year since taking power for the first time. The number of SIM cards used in the same period increased from 59.4 million to 131 million.

A bar chart showing that as more Iranians access the Internet, control is tightly controlled, comparing online freedom points with mobile phone հեռախոս broadband subscriptions per 100 people.

The increasing availability of the Internet, even in the most deprived villages and towns, contributed to the quiet revolution. Online businesses are growing և Citizens across the country are adapting to what is happening in cities like Tehran. Social media is the biggest tool for expressing dissatisfaction among Iranians. Although some hardliners talk about blocking access to social media, its popularity has taken a tough stance.

4. Rising prices. ,, և broken popularity

One of Rouhani’s early victories over a nuclear deal was a one-off cut to less than 7 percent, the lowest level in decades. The wave of it from 2018, the Iranians say that the official data strongly underestimate its real growth, led to a decline in popularity of Rouhani.

Linear graph (%) of annual change in consumer prices, showing out of control.  Inflation in Iran is rising again

According to presidential analysts, the president’s response that people should be happy that goods were generally available at the time he called economic warfare has made him perhaps the least popular president in the history of the Islamic Republic.

5. For Rial Dollar

For many Iranians, one of the biggest psychological benchmarks of their well-being is the exchange rate. A weak rial not only contributes to inflation, but also makes foreign travel inaccessible to many, contributing to a sense of isolation.

Rial line chart for $ 1 (000 sec) showing the major devaluation of the rial since the US nuclear deal was lifted and sanctions imposed.

The value of the rial sank after the United States renounced the nuclear deal. The Iranians rushed to buy US dollars and euros. Unofficial estimates of foreign exchange holdings in private homes are $ 35 billion.

6. Gold for a rainy day

With more and more fluctuating currencies, more and more Iranians have not been able to afford the gold coins traditionally kept at home for rainy day shopping, such as buying houses, raising children, and getting married. Men often promise gold as a dowry, but the collapse of the rial means that many are unable to deliver.

Grouped symbol chart showing the number of rials needed to buy մետաղ 2021 gold coins in 2014

7. Pride is now a luxury

When Iranians want to announce how poor they are, they often say they will struggle to buy a Pride car, one of the cheapest domestic vehicles for sale in the Islamic Republic. It has often provided a second, sometimes a third, income as people become taxi drivers through the introduction of travel programs in Iran over the past decade. The fall of the rial, however, led to a sharp jump in the price of Pride, making the price of the new car unaffordable for many.

Chart showing how the price of Iran's cheapest domestic car, the Pride / Saipa 132, has risen since 2013

8. Women feel frustrated

Women’s voting has long been crucial to reformist candidates, and Rouhani was no exception. But he disappointed many by appointing only two women to his cabinet. Although women are now able to attend football matches with foreign teams, there are some signs of a significant improvement in women’s rights.

Numerous small charts showing how women's rights have not improved under Rouhani's rule in Iran compared to Iran in the Middle East and North Africa.

Many women are now frustrated with politics. “I am not going to vote in the election,” said Hamide, a 38-year-old private company employee. “And it will discourage everyone around me, unlike in previous cases when my family was dragging me to the polls.”

Additional visual journalism by Ian Bot in London



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