According to BBC News, the Iranian rial has dropped 80% in the past year, devastating the country’s economy. Surprise! This downturn is occurring synonymously with unrelenting sanctions from much of the global community, aiming to halt Iran’s suspicious nuclear program. The USA has been the frontrunner in the fight, with efforts under the Obama administration amped up in 2010, placing “an almost total economic embargo on Iran” (Wikipedia: Sanctions Against Iran). And that’s only one country. Imposed sanctions vary from those on exports deemed able to contribute to the nuclear program (India) to limitations on Iran-affiliated banking (Japan). With each escalating measure, the export of Iran’s keystone product, oil, plummets, taking with it the rest of the economy.
Ahmadinejad has stated, however, that the dramatic fall in the rial is not to do with economic issues or government policy, but “due to psychological pressures” (CBC).
Let’s get this straight.
The value of the rial has fallen, and there is psychological pressure on Iran. Therefore, the value of the rial has fallen because of psychological pressure.
Before I could even find the specific fallacy that was committed and point out the “cause and effect” gone wrong, I realized that the “presence of ‘psychological pressures’ ” could be a Fallacy of Presumption, Begging the Question. In this type of fallacy, a premise or premises need to be proven as much as the conclusion, leading to an argument that is only disputably truthful. Sanctions are used in order to squeeze the economy of another nation, in the hope that they will crack with the *economic* pressure and open themselves to negotiation. Yes, harsh limitations increase the difficulty of living for everyday citizens, but I don’t think that the goal of the incident countries is to break the government because it realizes it’s people are suffering.
You see how shaky that ground this? Moving past Begging the Question, another Fallacy of Presumption presents itself: False Cause. Just because two events occur in the same place or at the same time, does not mean that they are related, especially directly. Even if it is accepted that there is notable psychological pressure on Iran, that is not the most suitable cause for the decline in the value of the rial. Global sanctions would probably be a better choice. Plus, on top of that, Ahmadinejad denies any affect the actual economic fallout may have on the currency.
“Are these (currency) fluctuations because of economic problems? The answer is no” (CBC), says the Iranian president.
I beg to differ.