FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2016 file photo, a currency exchange bureau owner counts U.S. dollars in downtown Tehran, Iran. Iran's Central Bank has allowed money exchange offices across the country to resume work after a ban imposed in March 2018 amid the country's economic troubles. The bank's governor, Abdolnasser Hemmati, told sate TV late on Sunday, Aug 5, 2018, that "money exchangers are allowed to sell and buy foreign currencies." (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran money changers reopen after 5-month absence amid crisis

August 07, 2018 - 6:00 am

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Money exchange shops across Iran cautiously reopened on Tuesday after being shut for five months amid economic turmoil fanned by America's withdraw from the nuclear deal.

Shops opened their doors in the Iranian capital, Tehran, though some displayed no exchange rates late into the morning.

Two traders told The Associated Press that initial rates likely would be around 93,000 rials to the dollar, down from 98,000 to $1 on the black market the night before. The two spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Iran's official exchange rate remains 42,000 rials to $1.

Iran had announced this week that exchange shops would reopen despite the United States re-imposing some sanctions on the Islamic Republic late on Monday.

Those sanctions target financial transactions that involve U.S. dollars, Iran's automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes and metals, including gold. U.S sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector and Central Bank are to be re-imposed in early November.

The Islamic Republic's economy, hobbled by years of sanctions, has suffered in recent months with the uncertainty over the atomic accord. The U.S. move under President Donald Trump has dismayed America's European allies trying to preserve the nuclear deal.

Iran meanwhile has made moves signaling it could back out of the deal too, which the West struck with Tehran in order to limit its enrichment of uranium — a possible pathway to nuclear weapons.

Trump described the sanctions on Twitter early on Tuesday as "the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level."

"Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States," he wrote. "I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!"

Iran meanwhile has accused the U.S. of reneging on the nuclear agreement, signed by the Obama administration, and of causing the country's recent economic unrest. It has imperiled the power of President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric within Iran's theocracy, and seen him take a harder stance against America in recent remarks.

Iranian authorities recently also arrested 45 people, including the Central Bank's deputy chief, as part of a crackdown on financial fraud, according to judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi.

The crackdown followed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's orders to the country's president, parliament speaker and judiciary chief to work together to resolve the crisis.

President Hassan Rouhani's administration also replaced the Central Bank governor and took other measures to shore up the national currency.

Banker Bahaeddin Hashemi predicted the new policies would take at least a month to show their effects.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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