AP | Mohammad Nasiri and Amir Vahdat: On the streets of Tehran, every day seems to bring more worry and fear ahead of President Donald Trump’s decision this week on whether to pull America out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Exchange shop windows that once showed rates for Iranian rial to U.S. dollar transactions have gone blank, as black-market rates have skyrocketed to 70,000 rials to the dollar, far higher than the newly government-imposed rate of 42,000 for $1.
Busy shopping districts that once saw newlyweds buying refrigerators and other major appliances now largely stand empty as people save their money. Some talk openly about leaving the country for anywhere else.
“All of us are thinking about the uncertain future ahead of us,” said Mohammad Khaleghi, a 27-year-old appliance salesman on Tehran’s Amin Hozour Street. “Everybody is doing that. Everybody is afraid of the future — even myself. I do not know what is going to happen, if I can survive in this business or not. This situation concerns us all.”
The sense of foreboding gripping the Iranian capital ahead of Trump’s Saturday deadline to decide what to do about the deal is a far cry from the jubilant street celebrations that greeted the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. Then, people spoke with hope about Iran slowly losing its pariah status with the West, cemented in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Others praised President Hassan Rouhani, himself a cleric, and Iran’s other relative moderates for lifting the crippling economic sanctions that choked Iran over its contested nuclear program.
Today though, few can point to any benefit of the atomic accord.