DUBAI Oct 2 Iran's rial plunged at least 9
percent to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday as
the industry minister said he hoped security services would root
out speculators whom he blamed for the drop.
The rial was trading at about 37,500 to the dollar, down
from around 34,200 at the close of business on Monday, a foreign
exchange trader in Tehran told Reuters. Other Tehran traders
said the rial had dropped even further, to 38,000 or 40,000.
The currency has lost about a third of its value since
Monday last week, when the government launched an "exchange
centre" that was designed to stabilise the rial by supplying
dollars to importers, but appears to have backfired.
Iran's economy has been hit hard this year by Western
economic sanctions against its disputed nuclear programme. The
sanctions have slashed its oil exports and mostly excluded it
from the global banking system.
Iranians have responded by scrambling to change their rial
savings into hard currency, fuelling the slide.
"We have greater expectations that the security services
will control the branches and sources of disruption in the
exchange market," said Iran's minister of industry, mines and
trade Mehdi Ghazanfari, according to the Fars news agency.
"Brokers in the market are also pursuing the increase in
price because for them it will be profitable, and there is
nobody to control them."