Plummeting currency sparks riots in Iran
IRANIAN riot police fought protesters outside Tehran's grand bazaar yesterday as popular discontent over the country's economic woes escalated into violence.
Security forces used tear gas and batons against demonstrators angered by a dramatic collapse in the national currency, the rial, which has lost about a third of its value against the US dollar since Sunday.
The hour by hour decline of the currency provides vivid evidence of the damage wrought by international sanctions, which were imposed because of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Behind the rial's decline lies a precipitous fall in Iranian oil exports, which have dropped from about 2.5 million barrels per day last year to only 1.1 million barrels in August, according to the International Energy Agency. This has deprived Iran of billions of dollars of revenue.
The clashes came a day after Mr Ahmadinejad blamed the currency's collapse on "psychological warfare" waged by Iran's foreign and domestic "enemies". He denied that his government's policies had anything to do with the decline. (© Daily Telegraph, London)