Iran: Currency Concerns Lead to Crackdown

Iran Arrests Currency Traders

Iranian police forces on Wednesday swooped on foreign currency exchange businesses, closing down 10 exchange facilities and apprehending 90 forex dealers working in the street on charge of disrupting the foreign currency market. They were plying their trade near the British embassy in Tehran.

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

There is a small-scale panic developing in Iran as people rush out of the rial and into U.S. dollars.

But the currency has continued to weaken, analysts say, particularly in the a year ago as the Trump administration adopted increasingly aggressive policies toward Tehran's rulers.

Iran is doing its best to prevent its struggling economy from spurring more protests against the government.

Still, many, like a currency trader, who asked not to be named.

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Rahimi told a news conference that the wave of arrests targeted "brokers" of the dollar on Iran's black market, adding that the police entered the currency line after the market witnessed many fluctuations that led to the rise of the dollar.

But analysts say the fall in Iranian interest rates since September has also stoked the currency's decline by making investments in Iranian bonds and bank deposits less attractive to investors.

Trump's moves to stiffen US sanctions against Iran over its ballistic-missile development and intervention in regional conflicts have prompted many banks and businesses in Europe and Asia to be cautious about reengaging with Iran despite the go-ahead they got under the nuclear deal, analysts say.

The recent uprising at the turn of the year in Iran seem to indicate that the people believe that the root of economic problems in Iran is corruption in government, as well as interventionist policies. They also criticized the funding of the regime's proxies around Middle East and the world.

He noted that a high-profile figure dealing in foreign exchange was arrested in the raid.

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