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Iran’s currency drops to all-time low amid US sanctions

Value of rial has plummeted by more than 4.4% since the start of June, reaching 332,000 to the US dollar

In this photo from August 8, 2018, a man exchanges Iranian rials for US dollars at an exchange shop in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)
In this photo from August 8, 2018, a man exchanges Iranian rials for US dollars at an exchange shop in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s currency dropped on Sunday to its lowest value ever as talks to revive the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers remained deadlocked.

Traders in Tehran exchanged the rial at 332,000 to the US dollar, up from 327,500 on Saturday. That marked more than a 4.4% change compared to June 1 when it traded at 318,000 to the dollar.

Iran’s currency was trading at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Meanwhile, police arrested 31 currency and gold traders accused of creating “false demand” in the market, Iranian state TV reported Sunday, without elaborating.

The rial’s new low came as US sanctions against the country are still in force. Iran’s economy is struggling mightily mostly because of the US pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that restored sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors. Talks in Vienna to renew the agreement have been deadlocked for months.

In response to the US pullout and sanctions, Iran dropped some of its own commitments to the deal and has since upped its nuclear activities, including enriching uranium beyond the limits laid out in the pact, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Efforts to revive the JCPOA were set back last week as Iran announced it was installing further uranium enrichment centrifuges and also removing dozens of UN monitoring cameras at nuclear sites that were deployed as part of the 2015 agreement. The developments, which the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said would be a “fatal blow” to the talks on the deal, came after the watchdog passed a resolution censuring Iran for not providing answers about nuclear material at undeclared sites.

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