Iran raising deposit rates to control rial's depreciation, TV reports

Tehran arrests currency traders as rial plunges

Iranian police arrested around 100 money changers on Wednesday as it scrambled to contain the decline of the rial, which has lost a quarter of its value in six months, AFP reported.

The rial's value has been dropping steadily over the a year ago and is now trading at around 48,000 rials to one USA dollar.

Tehran Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi has said that at least 10 currency exchange shops have been sealed, Tasnim news agency reported.

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.

But the drop has accelerated in the past few months, creating a problem for authorities, who have just contained a wave of popular protests against economic hardship and corruption. U.S. President Donald Trump said last month "disastrous flaws" in the agreement had to be fixed or Iran would face a U.S. exit. As the currency has continued to lose value, speculators have sped the process along by betting against the rial's value.

"The detainees, driven by greed, were attempting to disrupt the market and economic order", Rahimi told Fars.

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Spare a thought today for your foreign exchange brothers in Iran.

State television broadcast footage of the crackdown."The foreign exchange speculators have been identified", central bank chief Valiollah Seif said, quoted by Iranian media on February 15."We will use all means at our disposal to get out of this situation and restore calm to the market".

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

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

Iranian police in collaboration with the experts of the Central Bank of Iran have arrested 90 currency dealers amid growing currency prices.

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