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Iran's currency: Why did the rial tumble so precipitously? (+video)

US sanctions played a role. However, Iranians aren't blaming the US, they're blaming their own government.

Amateur footage appears to show Iranians protesting over in Tehran's Grand Bazaar over the slump of the nation's currency. Sarah Charlton reports.
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The value of Iran’s national currency, the rial, plunged to its lowest against the dollar in more than two decades this week, plummeting by an estimated 40 percent in the past four days. And while the precipitous drop has been brought on by US sanctions, Iranians are in large part blaming the government's massive economic mismanagement.  

The rial has declined roughly 80 percent in the past year, and the street rate is now around 37,000 rials to the dollar. But economists and oil officials in Tehran say they were less surprised by the breadth of the currency’s depreciation than by the rapid speed at which it fell. Indeed, many have predicted the rial’s continued, albeit gradual, decline for more than a year.

The greatest shock has been on the Iranian street, where people, panicked by the sudden drop in the national currency’s value, have been scrambling to trade their rials for safe currencies such as the dollar and euro.

“Before, the currency situation was dysfunctional, but bearable: The rial was getting worse, but gradually. Now, it’s just falling,” says a Tehran-based businessman who runs a factory outside the capital.  

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