Iran president faces grilling over currency

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Iran’s parliament is planning to summon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be questioned over the country’s plummeting currency, state radio reported today.

It will be the second grilling of the increasingly embattled leader in less than a year.

The report said that 77 lawmakers signed a petition yesterday claiming that Ahmadinejad’s administration has been reluctant to regulate the currency market. By law the president has one month to answer the summons.

The Iranian rial has plummeted against hard currencies over the past year, with the slide accelerating in the past month. Iranian politicians blame this on Western-led sanctions targeting the country’s suspect nuclear programme but also on alleged mismanagement by the government of Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out with conservatives who once backed him.

Yesterday the rial traded at 31,000 rials to the dollar. It was about 11,000 in mid-2011.