The Iranian currency hit a record low against the U.S. dollar Monday, with the exchange tracking website Mazanex reporting the rial trading at 34,200 to the greenback.
That would be a 16 per cent drop from Sunday’s closing price.
The drop came after last week’s Israeli government report that international sanctions are hitting Iran hard.
Also Monday, the London-based Times newspaper reported that the sanctions have not stopped Iran from providing some $10 billion US in support for Syrian president Bashar Assad, but are creating a rift in the Iranian leadership.
And at the same time, labour activists and others have described to The Associated Press a rare petition which has been circulated for weeks within Iran, expressing alarm over economic conditions.
The manifesto complains about the stumbling economy. It has circulated in secret among factories and workshops.
"A staggering increase in prices has been biting over the past year as wages of workers have only increased 13 per cent this year," said the petition, whose full text was not made available to the AP, although selected parts were viewed.
It added: "Millions of workers cannot afford their monthly housing costs."
Organizers asked for signatures and the pages began to fill up. In the end, some 10,000 names were attached to the petition, addressed to Iran's labour minister in one of the most wide-reaching public outcries over the state of the country's economy.
Its existence suggests growing anxiety among Iran's vast and potentially powerful working class as the ruling system struggles with U.N. sanctions which have targeted critical oil exports and blackballed Iran from international banking networks.
The U.N. has imposed four rounds of sanctions in an effort to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.N. Security Council, calling for tougher action.
Netanyahu argued that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities may be the only answer to what he calls a fanatical and intransigent Iranian leadership.
The Israeli government report, according to details published in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, found that Iran's oil exports declined by more than 50 per cent in the past year — from 2.4 million barrels a day to one million — and oil revenues dropped by $40 billion US since the beginning of the year.
Iran relies on crude oil exports for about 80 per cent of its foreign revenue.
The Foreign Ministry based the findings on data received from countries that have embassies in Iran, according to Haaretz.
The report also claims that sanctions on Iran's central bank have made it difficult for the regime to access its foreign currency reserves, and bread, meat and electricity prices have soared because of the sanctions.
Unskilled factory workers in Iran make an average monthly wage of three million to seven million rials, or about $93 to $216 Cdn at Monday's exchange rate. The official poverty line is about 10 million rials, or about $309, a month.
In Tehran, food prices have risen sharply since the summer, with a 1.5 kilogram tub of yogurt doubling in price to about 24,000 rials (85 cents Cdn) since early September.
On Wednesday, the moderate Shargh newspaper used Central Bank reports to estimate the prices of meat and rice, both staples of Iranian kitchens, have risen 48 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, since last year.
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said inflation has risen to 29 per cent, newspapers reported last week.
According to Haaretz, Israel's Foreign Ministry believes that Iranian citizens are blaming their leaders for the sanctions, and believe another round of sanctions could tip the balance and push Iran to negotiate a compromise on its nuclear program.