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EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran said it has intensified supervision over exchange bureaus and penalized offending moneychangers.

In a press release seen on its website on Tuesday, the regulator said it sent warning notices to 248 authorized exchangers and suspended the permits of 46 shops for wrongdoing in nine months since the beginning of the fiscal year.

In addition, it said it revoked the permits of 25 authorized exchange bureaus for violating guidelines governing currency trade.

Regarding the misdeeds that expose the moneychangers to the regulator’s chagrin, the CBI pointed to “inability of exchange shops in meeting their commitments to customers, failure to report performance to the CBI and doctoring data.” Tightening oversight of moneychangers comes amid a fresh bought of volatility in the chaotic forex market while the regulator struggles to restore some stability to the market.

Earlier in the month the CBI required exchange bureaus to sell currency based on specific purposes. It said it will continue to supply foreign currency for 25 services.

Apart from the determined purposes in the new rules, authorized exchange shops were allowed in the past to sell €2,000 or equivalent for “other purposes” to every Iranian once a year. Now that is no more the case.

The regulator said that the move to impose limits on forex sale  is in line with efforts to tame market volatility and curb  “artificial demand.”  

In the same vein, the CBI boss Ali Salehabadi earlier said that an electronic trade platform will soon be launched to register retail demand for foreign currency

“The platforms is designed to meet the small needs of people for foreign currency,” he said, announcing that new platform would be up and running in two months.

In recent weeks the government has taken action to control speculation trade in the currency market in which demand has forever outstripped supply.

The Intelligence Ministry said last week it had deactivated 700 bank accounts of “illegal currency traders.” According to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency, “some of the accounts had a turnover of 200 trillion rials [$670 million] in nine months”.

After a weeklong rally, the dollar paused at the beginning of Iranian trading week on Saturday, paring almost all the gains as of Monday when the currency fell below 300,000 rials.  

The greenback resumed its rally in the middle of the trading session on Tuesday to cross the critical level again and jumped to 301,000 rials, up 1% in Tehran’s open market.   

Official exchange shops affiliated to the CBI paused and tagged the dollar at 274,700 rials, down 0.8%.  In the regulated forex market it was 0.5% lower.

The regulated market is a spot market operated by a network of banks and certified moneychangers dealing in wholesale currency.


Exchange bureaus