Mehdi Ghazanfari, Iran's former Minister of Industry, Mining, and Trade, said in an August 4, 2019 interview on Ofogh TV (Iran) that the Iranian government has in the past used foreign currency to "sweep" its economic dysfunction "under the rug." He explained that the economic problems have manifested themselves in the devaluation of Iran's currency, and he said that Iran is fortunate to be subject to sanctions because the isolation from foreign currency exposes Iran's economic mistakes, such as printing money despite a stagnant GDP. Ghazanfari said that Iran's bad economic practices will continue if Iran continues to be run the way it is.
Mehdi Ghazanfari: "When we have foreign currency, we use it to cover up all our economic dysfunction. It's like when you need to sweep your house but you're too tired, so you just sweep everything under the rug. This is what we have been doing every day in our economy... And then, on New Year's Eve, your mother lifts up the carpet, and she asks: 'What have you been doing all this time?' When does this 'lifting of the carpet' occur in the economy? It occurs when sanctions are imposed. When the sanctions limit the influx of foreign currency, we suddenly realize what problems we have in our economy. These problems manifest themselves in the devaluation of our national currency. In fact, part of this devaluation is not even caused by the sanctions. When there were no sanctions, we managed to conceal it very cleverly. The governments printed money, and the public said things were very good. But, in fact, there was no production, and the GDP was not growing. To put it simply, money was printed and that was it."
Reporter: "So the sanctions are like a light in the dark..."
Mehdi Ghazanfari: "The sanctions show us how wrong we acted. One may even say that we are lucky to be able to see how bad we are acting.
"Some of the impact of the sanctions is in exposing processes... I should repeat this sentence so people won't say I did not warn them... These processes have existed, currently exist, and will continue to exist if we continue to run the country this way. Nobody is doing anything yet to fix these processes."