Iran gives permission to exchange offices to import gold, currency banknotes
Tehran, Iran, Sept. 8
The Central Bank of Iran has given permission to licensed exchange offices across the country to start importing foreign currency banknotes in a bid to stop a rising dollar.
Iran's currency has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low earlier this week of 150,000 rial to the US dollar. It recovered to trade at 130,000 per dollar Saturday in unofficial trade, according to reports coming out of Iran.
The rial has been hit by the returning US sanctions, financial difficulties at local banks and strong demand for safe-haven dollars among Iranians.
A set of US sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry is due to take effect in November.
"Currency exchange offices have been given permission to import currency into the country and they can import currency in the form of bills," central bank governor Abdonaser Hemmati said, according to IRNA on September 8.
Currency exchange offices will also be allowed to import gold, the head of the Iranian parliament's economic committee, Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, said Saturday, ISNA reported.
Imports of both gold and foreign currency by exchange offices were previously forbidden, Pour-Ebrahimi said.
"In the past, this issue was forbidden and any kind of import would be considered contraband," he said.
Hemmati, who was appointed central bank governor in July in an ongoing shakeup of senior economic officials, made no mention of the decision on gold imports during his comments.