Iranian rial falls to historic low against US dollar amid coronavirus, sanctions

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The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the dollar on Thursday as the country’s economy continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic and US sanctions, data showed.

The US dollar was selling for as much as 300,000 rials on the unofficial market Thursday, data from foreign exchange website Bonbast.com showed, 2,000 rials up from Wednesday.

Dollars were being bought for 297,000, according to Bonbast.com.

The rial has been hit hard throughout 2020, and is down over 55 percent since the start of the year as the country suffered from falling oil prices as a result of stifled demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The country’s official exchange rate, used for state-subsidized goods like food and medicine, remains at 42,000 rials, but Iranians need to use unofficial, black market rates to secure their own source of foreign currency.

Iran is also the worst hit country in the Middle East, with over 26,000 reported deaths as a result of the virus, although experts have previously suggested that this number could be even higher.

The country’s economy has been struggling since the reintroduction of US sanctions in 2018, with oil revenues, traditionally a key source of funds for Iran, collapsing.

Earlier this week Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet reiterated that the international community must continue to take a firm stand towards Iran, and take Iranian violations related to its nuclear program seriously.

Earlier this month, authorities in Saudi Arabia took down a terrorist cell that had received training by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran, and arrested 10 individuals, a State Security spokesperson said Monday.

Saudi authorities also seized large quantities of weapons and explosives hidden in a house and on a farm, including electrical components used in the making of explosives such as capacitors, transformers and resistors, gunpowder, chemicals, Kalashnikov rifles, guns, sniper rifle, live ammunition, machine guns, blades, military clothes, and wireless communication devices, the spokesperson added.

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