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Iran arrests currency traders as rial collapses

AFP  |  Tehran 

arrested around 100 changers today as it scrambled to contain the decline of the rial, which has lost a quarter of its value in six months.

A video by showed dozens of currency hawkers, who normally ply their trade across the road from the in central Tehran, being rounded up by police.

Iran's currency has collapsed from 38,400 rials to the dollar in July to a record low of 48,400 on Wednesday.

Tehran's of police, Hossein Rahimi, told that 10 exchange offices had also been shut.

Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, which lifted many international sanctions, had raised hopes that the currency would regain its lost value.

On the day it was announced, many celebrating Tehranis waved dollar bills alongside 10,000 notes -- a sign of their hope that it would return to the level it had last enjoyed prior to the tightening of US-led sanctions in 2012.

Instead, the currency has continued to plummet, particularly after the arrival in office of US Donald Trump, whose threats to tear up the nuclear deal have scared off many foreign investors and prevented international banks from re-engaging with

But blame is also being placed closer to home.

"It's the government which is partly responsible for the rise in the dollar," a told AFP, asking not to be named.

He said the government itself was selling dollars at 48,800 rials on Tuesday -- part of its struggle to repatriate dollars it earns from selling abroad.

The other big was the decision by the central to lower interest rates in September.

Iran's banks have offered sky-high rates in recent years -- often over 20 percent -- as they compete for deposits against many individuals and businesses who prefer to keep their in dollars or

With many banks looking shaky, decreed they could no long offer rates above 15 percent -- a move which traders say pushed many back towards the dollar.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 17:40 IST