A few blocks from Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, and across the street from the British embassy, the corner of Manouchehri Street is the heart of Iran’s informal currency market.
It’s the main open-air currency market in the city, a place where people can buy most of the major global currencies. Dollars and euros are the biggest sellers.
Iran currently has two exchange rates — one formally fixed by the Central Bank of Iran and another informal, open market rate that’s sold to the public via currency exchange shops and traders on street corners like Manouchehri.
Recently the government has tried to clamp down on traders who operate without licenses. Many of the traders here are working without formal permits and they don’t like it when we try to film them.
One trader, Khosrow Abdi, agrees to speak. He’s been working on Manouchehri for 25 years and remembers how busy and frenetic the traders were when the rial suddenly lost its value a few years ago.
He says he hopes sanctions removal will improve things for the country as a whole, but he also says that they compelled authorities to implement better economic policies that have led to economic growth.