The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.
But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.
In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. They wanted to buy dollars, but there were no dollars to be had.
In an effort to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program through economic pain, both the U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions that should make it harder for Iran to sell its oil. But the global oil business is unpredictable, and sanctions are no guarantee.
President Obama opened and closed his speech with a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces, holding out their "team" approach as an example for the rest of U.S. society. "At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down," he said, "they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand."
The battle over Iran's nuclear program escalated Monday as the European Union announced an embargo on importing oil from Iran.
For years, Europe has been reluctant to join the United States in imposing tough sanctions on Iran. The United States years ago stopped buying Iranian oil, while European nations including France, Spain, Italy, and Greece kept up their purchases. European countries right now buy about 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.
Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 10:06 am
The European Union officially agreed to impose an embargo on Iranian oil, today. The AP reports that the union's 27 foreign ministers agreed on an immediate ban on new contracts for oil and existing contracts will be allowed to run through July 1.