Iran lifts ban on currency exchanges as U.S. sanctions loom

August 6, 2018 2:02 PM

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The ban on the exchange offices, introduced in March, had left the offices idle overnight: gone were the familiar, daily long lines of Iranians waiting to buy or sell dollars. The measure also backfired, and the black market flourished.

Hemmati said the government’s decision in April to enforce a single exchange rate to the dollar had caused “serious problems” for the country.

He maintained the Central Bank’s decision reflects Iran’s “strength” in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions.

“We are facing an economic war and the U.S. government is restoring sanctions and also trying to increase them,” he said. “But our government is powerful ... and is capable of opening up the foreign currency market on the same day.”

Hemmati said Iran has exported some $15 billion (U.S.) worth of non-oil products from April to July.

The United States has also been pushing its allies to halt their import of Iranian oil ahead of the November deadline. Among the top importers of Iranian oil are China, India, Turkey and South Korea.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, has suggested Iran might block the Strait of Hormuz in response to a shutdown of its oil exports. The strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is crucial to global energy supplies as about a third of all oil traded at sea passes through it.


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