The Iranian Rial Falls to Lowest Value Ever, Largely Due to US Sanctions and COVID-19

Iranian Rial - Economic Danger
A currency trader counts Iranian rial banknotes at a money exchange market. (Photo: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg)

The rial reaches an all-time low amid ongoing US sanctions and the effects of COVID-19; The rial has depreciated in value a reported 600 percent since 2015.


As of Saturday, June 20, the Iranian rial has dropped to its lowest value ever, equaling 193,400 rials to one dollar. The rial is reported to now have depreciated in value by 600 percent since 2015.

While the depreciation of the rial is largely a consequence of US sanctions that have been implemented over the last few years, the coronavirus has had no small effect as well. Prior to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the rial was valued at 140,000 to one dollar. Iran has now reported near 9,500 deaths, making it the most affected nation in regards to the current pandemic.

Apart from the effects of US sanctions, Iran is also facing new pressure from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding two restricted nuclear sites, demanding that Iran let them have access immediately. The IAEA’s motive for this investigation is to find out if Iran was using these sites for nuclear activity in the early 2000’s. Plunging oil prices are also a factor.

In an attempt to downplay the stress this is adding to the Islamic Republic’s economy, Iran’s central bank chief, Abdolnaser Hemmati, recently stated on social media that “The circumstances created by corona, the temporary pressure on the foreign exchange market…and the psychological atmosphere caused by the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors should not give the wrong signal. Despite the limited oil revenues, the country’s foreign exchange balance is good and the central bank will continue to provide the needed currency…despite continued U.S. pressure.”

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