Iran’s currency has fallen at least 18% since Saturday, according to AP, trading at 62,000 on the unregulated market at one point on Monday. The rial was also reportedly trading as low 70,000 versus the euro, accorging to the Islamic Society of North America.
“Political pressure coming from the Americans is one of the factors,” an anonymous source told Bloomberg. “Maybe in name sanctions have been lifted, but in practice countries that can work with us still see Iran as high risk.”
US President Donald Trump has set a deadline of May 12 for either renegotiating or abrogating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Should the US back out of the deal, sanctions that were lifted as part of the agreement would be reinstated.
In response to the currency’s slide, government spokesman Mohammed Bagher Nobakht was quoted as saying “we will certainly use all of the state’s strengths and capabilities in order to, God-willing, steady the market […] We accept that this situation is not a good one and it’s against what we want.”
In February, the Iranian government arrested around 100 currency traders in an attempt to crack down on what officials described as illegal speculation.
“There are some profiteers in the market who want to see the market rise, the dollar keep going up,” said Khosrow Abdi, a currency trader based in Tehran’s main street for foreign-exchange dealing was quoted as saying earlier this year.
A Bloomberg report cited some officials as pointing the finger at political opponents of President Hassan Rouhani, accused of seeking to discredit the government.