West's economic squeeze riles Iranians
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:08 p.m.
TEHRAN — Iranian authorities used aggressive measures on Wednesday in an attempt to halt the nosedive of the country's currency, making arrests, vowing to stamp out sidewalk money changers and warning merchants against fueling the mounting public anger over the economy.
There were unconfirmed reports of sporadic violence. Associated Press photos showed riot police blocking a street with the charred hulks of a garbage can and a motorcycle that had been set on fire. Smoke was rising from the area in central Tehran near the main bazaar.
The widespread responses to the freefall of the rial — which has lost more than a third of its value in a week — underscored the worries for Iranian leaders after months of dismissing the West's economic squeeze seeking to rein in Tehran's nuclear program. A declining currency causes shifts in an economy such as making imported goods more expensive.
Although the currency crisis is blamed on a combination of factors — including internal government policies — the rush to dump rials appears to reflect an underlying perception that international sanctions have deepened problems such as runaway inflation and soaring prices for imports and that the only safe hedge is to grab dollars or euros.
If the fiscal turmoil intensifies, it could boost pressure on the ruling system before elections next June to pick President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor. That has the potential to hinder nuclear talks with the West until after the elections.
Exchange houses were closed Wednesday, and currency websites were blocked from providing updates on the latest rates.
Public grumbling has grown steadily louder over a punishing combination of a falling currency and rising prices, which have put some staples such as chicken and lamb out of reach of many low-income Iranians.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Eastern European military officers say security, economic ties blunt Russia’s war threat in Ukraine
- Missing Malaysia Airlines plane a terror target?