Tehran bazaar closed as currency falls

Associated Press
FILE- In this Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 file photo, an Iranian street money changer holds Iranian banknotes with a portrait of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in the main old Bazaar of Tehran, Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the steep drop in Iran's currency Tuesday to "psychological pressures" linked to Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. The remarks were part of his attempt to deflect criticism from political rivals that his government's policies also have contributed to the nosedive of the Iranian rial, which has lost more than half its value against the U.S. dollar this year and has sharply pushed up costs for many imported goods. The price hikes have added to the burdens on Iran's economy as it struggles with tougher sanctions targeting its crucial oil exports and measures blocking it from key international banking networks. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
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FILE- In this Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 file photo, an Iranian street money changer holds Iranian banknotes with a portrait of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in the main old Bazaar of Tehran, Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the steep drop in Iran's currency Tuesday to "psychological pressures" linked to Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. The remarks were part of his attempt to deflect criticism from political rivals that his government's policies also have contributed to the nosedive of the Iranian rial, which has lost more than half its value against the U.S. dollar this year and has sharply pushed up costs for many imported goods. The price hikes have added to the burdens on Iran's economy as it struggles with tougher sanctions targeting its crucial oil exports and measures blocking it from key international banking networks. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Tehran's main bazaar has been closed as authorities tighten controls trying to halt the fall of Iran's currency after it hit a record low.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency says the bazaar — the traditional commercial hub in Iran's capital — was closed for security reasons on Wednesday.

Iranian officials have faced increasing public anger over the plummeting rial and rising prices, blamed partly on Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program.

The Mehr report quoted Ahmad Karimi Isfahani, a bazaar official, as denying reports that merchants staged a protest.

Police are patrolling streets where freelance money dealers work. Exchange shops are closed.

The rial hit 34,500 against the U.S. dollar Tuesday on the unofficial street trading rate. Two years ago, it was close to 10,000 rials for the dollar.

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