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Iranian rial weakens

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Iran’s Middle Class on Edge as World Presses In
Robert F. Worth; The New York Times; Feb. 6, 2012

TEHRAN — One measure of the profound anxiety now coursing through Iranian society can be seen on Manouchehri Street, a winding lane at the heart of this city where furtive crowds of men gather every day like drug dealers to buy and sell American dollars.

The government has raised the official exchange rate and sent police into the streets to stop the black marketeers, but with confidence in Iran’s own currency, the rial, collapsing by the day, the trade goes on.

In an interview, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, an adviser to Mr. Ahmadinejad, also dismissed the sanctions as counterproductive, saying Iranians had suffered worse isolation during the 1980s and had always found ways around them. “This is not the way to approach us,” Mr. Javanfekr said. “You should instead speak to us with respect. You should win our heart.”

Some Iranian businessmen make similar comments, noting that there are always ingenious new ways to sell oil and to transfer money, and that the people who will suffer most from sanctions are not the ones who can pressure the government for change. “So you kill the pistachio trade in Iran,” one businessman said. “How does that stop nuclear enrichment?”

As I’ve argued already, the sanctions aren’t about stopping nuclear enrichment (or about pushing regime change)—they’re about dollarizing Iran by collapsing the rial. If the above reports are true, this attempt has already been met with some success.

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Written by M. James

February 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Posted in News, Politics

Tagged with , , , , , ,

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