Iran’s central bank has proposed slashing four zeros off the Iranian rial, state news agency IRNA reported on January 6th, after the currency shed more than 60% of its value in 2018. “A bill to remove four zeros from the national currency was presented to the government by the central bank yesterday and I hope this matter can be concluded as soon as possible,” IRNA quoted central bank governor, Abdolnaser Hemmati, as saying.
Proposals to remove four zeros from the currency have been floated since 2008 but the idea has gained strength as the rial continues to drop in value. Foreign exchange websites showed the Iranian currency trading at about 110,000 rials per US dollar on the unofficial market on January 6th.
The US reintroduced economic sanctions against the Tehran regime last year after pulling out of the world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Washington has vowed to put “maximum pressure” on Iran’s economy to force it to accept tougher limits on its nuclear and missile programmes.
The rial’s weakness disrupted Iran’s foreign trade last year and helped boost annual inflation fourfold to nearly 40% in November. The weak currency and galloping inflation have been the cause of sporadic street protests since late 2017.