Iran Mired in Economic Pain as Presidential Vote Nears

SourceAsharq AL-awsat

When Iranians vote for a new president next week, they will do so in the depths of an economic crisis brought on by crippling sanctions and worsened by the pandemic.

After years of international isolation, Iran’s 83 million people are suffering as jobs are scarce, prices are rising and hopes for a brighter future are dwindling for many.

“We don’t make any plans, we just live from day to day,” said Mahnaz, a 30-year-old saleswoman in a Tehran beauty products shop, summing up the glum mood, AFP reported.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged last month that “the main (problems) of the people” are youth unemployment and “the difficulties… of the underprivileged class”.

An ultraconservative candidate, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, is seen likely to win the June 18 election, in another setback for the moderate and reformist camps that have long hoped for greater re-engagement with the world.

“We are facing the most serious macroeconomic crisis Iran has experienced since the 1979 revolution,” said more...