Iranian currency gains on change in presidency

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The Iranian rial has strengthened by more than 15 percent against the dollar since the victory of moderate Hassan Rowhani who was elected president more than a week ago, reports said on Sunday.

The Iranian currency was trading at under 30,000 to the dollar on Sunday morning compared to 35,000 a week ago, media and dealers said.

The rial had lost more than two-thirds of its value against the dollar since early 2012 when the United States and the European Union announced new sanctions against Iran’s oil exports and access to the global banking system.

The sanctions have been blamed by the government for most of the problems in Iran, where oil exports plummeted by 40 percent in 2012 while inflation is officially running at more than 30 percent.

Rowhani has promised more transparency in talks with world powers on Iran’s controversial nuclear program that could help ease the sanctions.

“Many Iranians had bought dollars and were stashing them at home but now they are selling because they fear that the perspective of a dialogue with the United States and a more subtle diplomacy on the nuclear front could strengthen the rial,” a currency dealer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

According to the central bank, Iranians have collectively stashed around $18 billion in their homes.

Analysts have said that Rowhani’s election, which ended eight years of conservative rule by outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could soothe tensions with the West.

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