(Mainly from Enduring America with some re-editing and organizing by FG)
REPORTS ON ECONOMIC CRISIS
A few days ago the rial started about 1820 and ended at 1900 (then a record). The next market day it reached 2000. Now it's at 2300. WOW!
MP Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam of Parliament's Economic Committee said the economic reputation of the Government is gone. He claimed that, even though the Central Bank has more than $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves, it has abandoned the defence of the Iranian currency.
Arsalan Fathipour, the head of the Economic Committee, said that the Rial weakening to a level beyond 20000:1 to the US dollar is a "big catastrophe for the economy".
Fathipour continues that Minister of Industry Mehdi Ghazanfari's claim of "cheap" US dollars, provided at official Central Bank rates, for importers is not true (see 0455 GMT). He said Parliament has summoned Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini to report on the currency crisis.
IRAQ HAS A DOLLAR PROBLEM
Mashregh writes that thousands of Iranians have rushed to Iraq for a "fistful of dollars".
The Mashregh report backs up news that Iraqi authorities have approached international agencies for help with foreign reserves because of the number of Syrians and Iranians seeking dollars amidst US sanctions.
A MERCHANT COMPLAINS
Why is the price of gold skyrocketing in Iran? Here's a clue from a stationary merchant in Tehran:
The Rial [the national currency] is falling so fast that it's impossible to do business in it. We can't agree any proper deals with other firms because within an hour or two, the prices of everything may have changed. The government has limited the amount of other currencies we can use, so everyone is using gold instead."
NO RIALS OR RUPEHS, PLEASE. DO YOU HAVE YENS, GOLD OR DOLLARS?
A sign of possible problems for Tehran as it tries to free the bonds of US-led sanctions through payments in alternative currencies....
Iran has asked India to pay for oil partly in Japanese yen in the latest step in a crisis over trade payments from the end of 2010.
At talks in Tehran last week, India proposed to pay its second-biggest oil supplier in rupees. However, Tehran is seeking payment in yen because it is concerned that they may not get sufficient value from the rupee, which is not fully convertible.
The two countries have struggled to preserve $9.5 billion in annual crude trade after the Reserve Bank of India dismantled a mechanism used to settle payments in euros and dollars in December 2010. Transactions are currently routed through Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, based in Ankara, which has told Indian refiners it may no longer be able to act as an intermediary because of American warnings not to maintain links with Iranian banks.
AFTAB SPEAKS UP
Critics are lining up to challenge the Government over the state of the economy. Aftab asks "Are economic managers able to resign?" it asks before asserting that the Government except to react with slogans
Reformist MP Mohammad Reza Khabbaz chips in, "By putting the blame for the Rial's fall on the raid on the British Embassy [a "spontaneous" action by a crowd on 29 November], the Government projects its failures on others."
And MP Abbasali Noura warns that the Government should not eliminate 10 million people from support payments for subsidy cuts because this "will have very negative results".
MP Ali Fallahian, a former Minister of Intelligence and a member of the Assembly of Experts, said Iran should halt all oil sales to the EU Union immediately, pre-empting EU plans for the start of the embargo on 1 July. This would cause a spike in prices and deny European countries, such as Greece, Spain, and Italy --- all of whom take between 10 and 25% of their oil from Iran --- to find other supplies.
Fallahian also insisted, "If they increase the pressure on our country, we can use the Strait of Hormuz as a tool to decrease the pressures and closing the strait is one of the options."
INSIDERS CONTINUE TO COMPLAIN OPENLY ABOUT KHAMENEI'S AWFUL DECISION-MAKING
...And now another prominent supporter for former Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Alaei (see 1139 GMT), after his article warning the Supreme Leader about the consequences of repression --- MP Ali Motahari has said that critics have the right to spread their opinion via national media and that physical attacks on them are immoral.
... Muhammad Sahimi summarises the information --- posted in EA over the last two weeks --- about the controversy around an article by former Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Alaei, warning the Supreme Leader of the consequences of repression.
Now a fourth IRGC officer has stepped forward and added his voice to the criticism of the nation's state of affairs. In an article on his blog, Gholam-Ali Rajaei, a former IRGC officer, wrote, "There are criticisms of the Supreme Leader in society," and these articles are merely bringing those "whispers" into the open. Responding to the 12 IRGC commanders that had accused Alaei of targeting Khamenei, Rajaei wrote, "Suppose that the target...of Alaei's article was the Leader. What is the problem? In what sense is this is a violation of the law?"
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