Far away from the conflict zones in the Middle East, in the small alleyways of Tehran’s bazaars and the luxury car dealerships in the affluent northern parts of the city, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement has definitely added to economic woes, which are contributing to political tensions.
On Monday, protesters gathered outside the Parliament building in Tehran to complain about the economy, and the police fired tear gas to disperse them. On Sunday, the Grand Bazaar had to close because of protests.
Iran’s economy already was in a bad state. In less than a year, the rial, Iran’s currency, has declined by 50 percent in value against the dollar. The International Monetary Fund reported that a record amount of capital, $27 billion, was taken out of the country last year. Ayatollah Khamenei, in a sermon recently celebrating the end of Ramadan, called upon Iranians to stop taking leisure trips abroad, to make sure no more foreign exchange leaves Iran.
The currency crisis has led to a sharp increase in the prices of imported goods. In an effort to shield their savings, many people are buying real estate, gold and cars, driving up prices of those assets.
“Finding a safe place for my savings has become nearly impossible,” said Asgar Kouhpaee, 55, a tradesman who for years made his living as an egg wholesaler. He said he always kept his savings in cars, but this year he missed his chance. A Toyota RAV4, a midscale SUV model that costs around $25,000 in the United States and sold for $68,000 here last August, now costs around $100,000.
“Everything has gone up, even locally produced cars are now 40 percent more expensive,” he said. “Not only am I unable to purchase a new car, but who can afford to buy it from me with these prices?”
The prospect of new sanctions and pressure are terrifying him. “It just feels as if everything is spinning out of control,” he said. “We must do something to stop this.”