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Sex And The Stagnant Revolution
by James Dunnigan
August 21, 2012

The Iranian riyal continues to lose its value against foreign currencies. Now, it costs over 20,000 Iranian riyals to buy one U.S. dollar. At the beginning of this year it cost 16,000. A year before that it only cost 10,000. So not only are smugglers demanding higher fees to get forbidden goods to Iran (because of the increased risk of getting caught and prosecuted) but it costs more and more to buy foreign currency to pay the smugglers or legitimate suppliers of goods. All this grief doesn't get much attention in the foreign press but in Iran it's big and seemingly unending bad news.

Since July 1st, the new sanctions have cut Iranian oil shipments by nearly half (to about 1.1 million barrels a day). That is costing Iran over $41 billion a year in oil revenue. Other producers, particularly the Gulf Arab states, have replaced the lost Iranian production and the price of oil continues to decline. This hurts Iran even more. Shortages, unemployment, and the growing inflation have caused more anti-government sentiment. Many Iranians also consider government corruption as a key factor in all the economic problems.

In response of the falling revenue, the government has cut many popular programs, including birth-control efforts. The birth rate is below the replacement rate and the population is 75 million (double what it was when the Shia clerics took over in the 1980s). Most of the population is under 35, and too many younger Iranians are unemployed and unhappy with the government. The clerics encouraged births during the 1980s war with Iraq but now most (71 percent) Iranians live in cities where it's impossible to support a family if you don't have a job. Younger Iranians don't want to have kids while the country is ruled by a corrupt religious dictatorship.  Few of these young Iranians want to return to the countryside and subsistence farming.

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