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Iran Considers Removing 4 Zeros from Currency

Iran Considers Removing 4 Zeros from Currency

Monday, 7 January, 2019 - 07:00
A vendor inspects Iranian rials at a currency exchange shop in Baghdad, Iraq August 8, 2018. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Iranian government is considering removing four zeros from its rial to avoid its collapse after it fell sharply against the US dollar in 2018, leading to protests and turmoil in Iran's foreign trade.

“A bill to remove four zeros from the national currency was presented to the government by the central bank on Saturday, and I hope this matter can be concluded as soon as possible,” IRNA quoted Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati as saying.

After approval by the government, the proposed currency plan would have to be passed by parliament and approved by the clerical body that vets legislation before it takes effect.

Proposals to remove four zeros from the currency have been floated since 2008, according to Reuters.

However, the idea has gained strength as the rial lost more than 60 percent of its value in 2018 despite a recent recovery engineered by the central bank in defiance of US sanctions.

The currency was trading at about 110,000 rials per US dollar on the unofficial market on Sunday, according to foreign exchange websites.

Rial weakness disrupted Iran’s foreign trade last year and helped boost annual inflation fourfold to nearly 40 percent in November.

The weak currency and galloping inflation have been a complaint of sporadic street protests since late 2017.

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