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“The Toilet Paper Revolution”

November 13th, 2012 - 12:15 pm

That’s what StrategyPage calls it in Iran:

The government is trying to cope with the stricter sanctions but inflation continues to rise. It is currently 25 percent and headed for 30 percent in the next few months. Most luxury goods imports (including toilet paper) are now banned. The only items allowed in legally are those that preserve jobs (raw materials and components for factories) and keep the security forces going (“legal” smuggling of weapons and items needed for the nuclear and other weapons development and production). But there is already more illegal smuggling of luxury goods. People with money are willing to pay a big markup to get iPhones and softer toilet paper.

The impact of the sanctions can be best seen in how many rials it costs to buy a dollar. On September 24th it took 24,000 Iranian rials to buy one dollar on the black market. Last month it cost 39,000 rials, and now the government has managed to get that down to 32,000. The official exchange rate is 12,000 rials but there are severe restrictions on who can get dollars at that rate. Two years ago the market rate was under 11,000 rials per dollar.

Revolution? I don’t have my hope up. A revolt at best, and even that’s a maybe.

Iranians won’t overthrow their government because they know two things. First, that there is no brutality the Mullahs won’t commit and, second, that President Obama is no friend of Iranian revolutionaries. Once burned, twice shy.

And the sanctions won’t stop the Mullahs, also for two reasons. First, they don’t give a damn what sanctions might do to their own people (see: brutality) and, second, they want nukes more than they want riches.

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