Iranian economy between free-fall and calls for self-reliance

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

In this speech delivered on March 22, the first day of the Iranian New Year for 1397, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei underlined the need for the country’s economy to be self-reliant and avoid foreign debt. In an address delivered to pilgrims and citizens following a visit to the Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad to mark the launch of the regime’s ‘Year of Support for Iranian Products’ coinciding with the New Year, Khamenei expressed pride in refusing to take out any loans from the World Bank or other international bodies.

In his address, Khamenei says, “In recent years, different governments [administrations] have sought to take out a loan from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund on several occasions, but of course I didn’t allow them to do that and stopped them even after they’d arranged all the preliminaries. It’s a big mistake to be indebted to foreigners and to become dependent on them. The economy should be self-reliant, although this doesn’t mean that we close the doors to the country. No, I say be self-reliant and outward-looking.”

Khamenei’s speech came as the Iranian economy continues to spiral downwards, with the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) announcing that the Toman had reached a new all-time record low of 5,023 Tomans to the US dollar four days later on Monday, March 26; other sources in Iran said that the exchange rate had fallen even lower.