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Iran lawmakers want central banker fired amid currency turmoil

Accuse Governor Valiollah Seif of mismanaging the banking industry and currency markets as the rial weakened to a record low

Gulf News

Dubai: Half of Iran’s lawmakers have written to President Hassan Rouhani demanding the removal of the country’s central bank chief, accusing him of mismanaging the banking industry and currency markets as the rial weakened to a record low.

Iran has witnessed “instability in the management of banks and credit institutions” under Governor Valiollah Seif, state-run Tasnim news agency on Thursday quoted Javad Abtahi, one of 160 legislators to sign the letter, as saying. The governor has “repeatedly said that the situation in the currency market is under control but each time we’re seeing the opposite.”

The rial has slumped against the dollar in the unregulated market as the US nears a May 12 deadline to stay in or withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal that removed a host of sanctions on Iran’s economy, and amid political feuding at home. Authorities responded with a decision to unify the exchange rate, and arrested several unlicensed traders.

During a speech to parliament earlier this month, lawmakers circled around Seif with shouts of “resign,” prompting Speaker Ali Larijani to restore order. The lawmakers who signed the letter believe that Seif must be replaced to “restore people’s trust in the banking system,” Abtahi said.

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