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Tehran Bazaar reopens amid currency uncertainty

Source: Radio Zamaneh; photos by Fatemeh Behboudi, Mehr News Agency

Following the sudden plunge of the Iranian national currency last week and the ensuing protests in Tehran's Great Bazaar, foreign currency trading is in limbo, but the Bazaar has reopened today, Saturday, under close police supervision.

Last week, the dollar was being traded at about 40,000 rials; today the exchange rate for the dollar has been announced at about 30,000 rials. but nothing is being traded.

The Mehr News Agency reports that money traders have omitted the price of foreign currencies and Gold on their signs "and the number of brokers and speculators is significantly low."

Radio Farda reports that in Dubai, the exchange rate for the dollar is at about 27,000 to 29,000 rials, since the UAE dirham, which had reached 8,300 rials last week, was being traded at about 7,700 to 7,900 rials today.

The Fars News Agency, the news outlet with links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, reports that the dollar is being traded at 25,000 to 27,000 rials and the majority of the business carried out today consisted of customers selling their foreign currencies.

The official government centre for foreign currency exchange, which is supposed to offer rates at two percentage points below the official rate in the market, put its Saturday rate for the dollar at 25,970 rials.

Mehr quoted the head of the bazaar's Association of Producers and Technical Services, Ali Fazeli, who said that stores opened in the bazaar at 8:15 on Saturday morning and "it is business as usual."

On Wednesday, the bazaar's storeowners closed their doors to the public in light of the rial's continued fall. Business owners have expressed concern about the future of the market, saying that under the current situation, they cannot determine the appropriate retail prices for their goods.

The authorities have announced the arrest of "16 disruptors in the currency market", and the state newspaper Keyhan, linked to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, reported today that the "long-delayed arrest of these individuals has returned peace and quiet to the currency market."

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