Iran rulers eye currency mess from protected perch
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Just as Iran's currency was rattling near bottom after a stunning free fall, officials in Tehran opened a trade exhibition that included advanced engineering tools, heavy machinery and robotics. Nearly every Iranian booth had some connection to the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard and the ruling system it safeguards.
This display of the regime's industrial muscle showcases why the collapse of Iran's rial is unlikely to pose any immediate threats to the country's real centers of power, despite protests last week that brought quick speculation in the West about the stirrings of a popular revolt.
The top end of Iran's economy remains fully in the hands of the Revolutionary Guard and its networks, which span from oil to aerospace. And the lifeblood for the ruling clerics and the Guard still comes from Iran's oil exports that – on paper at least – bring in tens of millions of dollars a day to buffer against the blows hitting the rest of the country: a tanking currency, skyrocketing prices for imported goods and double-digit inflation.
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