Wave of Arrests in Dollar Market, Iranian Parliament Warns Rouhani

Wave of Arrests in Dollar Market, Iranian Parliament Warns Rouhani

Thursday, 15 February, 2018 - 09:45
A money changer poses for the camera with a US dollar (R) and the amount being given when converting it into Iranian rials (L), at a currency exchange shop at Tehran's business district. Reuters
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran's President received verbal warning from more than 90 MPs because of the deterioration of the currency market, after the Iranian currency witnessed "a sudden shock" as the dollar exceeded its highest levels.

This coincided with a wave of arrests targeting the currency market in central Tehran, in "coordination" between the Iranian police and the Central Bank.

Parliamentarians raised verbal warnings to Rouhani and the minister of economy, demanding governmental action to improve the capital market.

Spokesman for the Iranian Parliament's Presiding Board Behrouz Nemati said that the parliament has warned Rouhani because "we don't know which party we should address regarding the currency value and the chaos in its market."

“MPs asked Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to include the warning on the agenda of the parliament,” according to Mehr news agency.

Anticipation was seen in the Iranian markets due to the extensive security operation launched by the Iranian police in coordination with the Central Bank, according to Iranian media.

Iranian media also reported a slight improvement Wednesday after exceeding five thousand tomans.

Tehran’s Police Chief General Hossein Rahimi said 90 dealers were arrested on Wednesday in an operation coordinated with the central bank. Ten currency exchange shops were shut down and operators of 16 given closure warnings.

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.

The dollar has exceeded five thousand tomans in the Iranian market, the highest record in the decline of the national currency against the dollar.

According to unofficial statistics, the Iranian currency has lost 36 percent of its value since March 2017, and the Iranian currency against the dollar has fallen about 60 percent since the start of the nuclear sanctions in 2007.

The economic committee is due to begin consultations with Rouhani starting next week, after 76 MPs signed a request to question him as a result of the deteriorating economic situation.

If MPs were not convinced by the committee's consultations, Rouhani must attend a parliamentary hearing, a measure that could strike a political blow and force him to change some members of the economic team, according to experts.

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