Iran lifts ban on currency exchanges, allows branches to resume business

The official rate will remain at 42,000 rials to the dollar. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 06 August 2018
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Iran lifts ban on currency exchanges, allows branches to resume business

  • Foreign currencies had recently doubled in price on the black market
  • Legal institutions and businesses will again be allowed to bring gold and foreign currencies into Iran

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s Central Bank has allowed money exchange offices to resume work after a ban imposed in March amid the country’s economic troubles.
The bank’s governor, Abdolnasser Hemmati, told state TV late on Sunday that “money exchangers are allowed to sell and buy foreign currencies” once again.
He also said that legal institutions and businesses will again be allowed to bring gold and foreign currencies into Iran. Hemmati says the decision will go into effect on Tuesday.
He says the official rate will remain at 42,000 rials to the dollar for vital imports such as medicine and food.
Hemmati says the government’s decision in April to enforce a single exchange rate to the dollar caused “serious problems” for the country.
Foreign currencies had recently doubled in price on the black market.


For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

Updated 19 May 2019
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For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

  • Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life
  • Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war

TEHRAN: Across Iran’s capital, the talk always seems to come back to how things may get worse.
Battered by US sanctions and its depreciating rial currency, Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life.
Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war, as Iran’s major concern. Iran’s rial currency traded at 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now it is at 148,000, and many have seen their life’s savings wiped out.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 12 percent. For youth it’s even worse, with a quarter of all young people unemployed, according to Iran’s statistic center.
“The economic situation is very bad, very bad. Unemployment is very high, and those who had jobs have lost theirs,” said Sadeghi, the housewife. “Young people can’t find good jobs, or get married, or become independent.”
Sores Maleki, a 62-year-old retired accountant, said talks with the US to loosen sanctions would help jumpstart Iran’s economy.
“We should go and talk to America with courage and strength. We are able to do that, others have done it,” Maleki said. “We can make concessions and win concessions. We have no other choice.”
But such negotiations will be difficult, said Reza Forghani, a 51-year-old civil servant. He said Iran needed to get the US to “sign a very firm contract that they can’t escape and have to honor.” Otherwise, Iran should drop out of the nuclear deal.
“When someone refuses to keep promises and commitments, you can tolerate it a couple of times, but then certainly you can’t remain committed forever. You will react,” Forghani said. “So I don’t think we should remain committed to the deal until the end.”
Yet for Iran’s youth, many of whom celebrated the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal in the streets, the situation now feels more akin to a funeral. Many openly discuss their options to obtain a visa — any visa — to get abroad.
“Young people have a lot of stress and the future is unknown,” said Hamedzadeh, the 20-year-old civil servant. “The future is so unknown that you can’t plan. The only thing they can do is to somehow leave Iran and build a life abroad.”