Iran MPs call on Central Bank governor to resign as rial plummets

Al Monitor – As the Iranian rial hit a record low, trading above 60,000 against the US dollar on April 9, criticism against President Hassan Rouhani and Central Bank Gov. Valiollah Seif has intensified.

The rial has dropped in value over the last few months and reached a nadir in the past two weeks, jumping from 50,000 against the dollar on March 26 to 60,000 on April 9.

The unprecedented devaluation led the Iranian government to announce late April 9 that the dual exchange rates will be unified with an official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar; warnings were also issued that trading at any other rate will be tantamount to “smuggling” and is a punishable offense. Iran has long had a two-tiered exchange rate system — with differences between the official rate and the free market rate hovering around 15% in the past decade.

In a session in parliament over the currency devaluation, moderate parliament Speaker Ali Larijani slammed Seif for mismanagement of the foreign exchange market.

Mentioning the government’s decision to unify exchange rates, Larijani addressed Seif April 10: “Mr. Seif, there is an objection about your performance [and the question of] why such decisions weren’t made previously?”

Meanwhile, Seif — who had attended the April 10 session of parliament — faced harsh reactions from a large number of parliament members, who approached him and shouted “Resign” while he was giving a speech to explain the causes of the devaluation.

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