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Iranian MP: $30 Billion Has Been Transferred Out Of The Country

Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi

A member of the Iranian parliament claimed Iranians have transferred $30 billion out of the country during the last few months, before the Persian calendar year which ended on March 20.

MP Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi who is the head of economic committee in Iran’s parliament made the claim in an interview with ISNA News Agency on Monday. However, he did not specify how the money has been moved out.

Iranians do not have access to the international banking system and the transfer can only occur through unconventional ways, such as exchange dealers or international travelers.

Pourebrahimi also criticized the actions taken by the Central Bank to curb the rapid devaluation of the national currency rial against US dollar as erroneous and said that the measures have created more tension in the market.

The rial has lost around a quarter of its value in the past six months, hitting 50,860 against the US dollar for the first time. In order to stop the free fall, the government took some drastic measures last month, including arresting foreign exchange dealers, freezing speculators' accounts and raising interest rates.

The "faulty" measures taken by the government encourages people to buy US dollars, Pourebrahimi told ISNA and said that currently, Iranians hold $20 billion out of the banking system. “This does not correlate with the real supply and demand in Iran’s economy and leads to more anxiety in the market.”

In order to bring the money into the banking system, Pourebrahimi suggested that the banks should allow customers to have foreign currency accounts and the assurance that they will receive the same currency back that they have deposited in their accounts. Currently, Iranian banks allow their customers to have only rial accounts.

Experts say that the appointment of foreign Mike Pompeo as CIA director and John Bolton as national security adviser by President Trump and the possible withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal has created fear among Iranians.

Both Pompeo and Bolton have tough positions regarding the Islamic Republic and the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

President Trump should renew the deal on May 12. But according to many analysts, he will refrain from that and reinstate crippling sanctions against Iran.