Iranian currency falls to record low amid EU plans to expand sanctions against Tehran

JEDDAH(RAHNUMA): Iran’s troubled currency rial fell to a record low against the US dollar on Saturday amid discussions in the European to impose new sanctions on 37 Iranian officials and organizations over the regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters.

Iran’s increasing isolation in the global community also comes amid warnings over Tehran’s expanding role in stirring unrest within the Mideast region and for supplying drones that are causing massive death and destruction in Ukraine.

Ties between the EU and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months as efforts to revive nuclear talks have stalled. Iran has detained several European nationals and the bloc has become increasingly critical of the violent treatment of protesters and the use of executions.

Foreign ministers from the EU bloc are to agree to adopt the fourth package of sanctions on Tehran over its repression of demonstrators at an already-scheduled meeting in Brussels on Monday.

The European Parliament called on Wednesday for the EU to list Iran’s Guards as a terrorist group, blaming the powerful force for the repression of protesters and the supply of drones to Russia. The assembly cannot compel the EU to add the force to its list, but the text was a clear political message to Tehran.

Panama’s vessel registry, the world’s largest, has withdrawn its flag from 136 ships linked to Iran’s state oil company in the last four years, the country’s maritime authority said this week.

Demonstrations have swept Iran since the Sept. 16 death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly failing to adhere to the Islamic republic’s strict dress rules.

Iran has arrested at least 14,000 people in the wave of protests, according to the UN.

Authorities have executed four people for their role in the unrest and imposed the death penalty on a total of 18, triggering widespread international outrage.

The EU has already imposed asset freezes and visa bans on more than 60 Iranian officials and entities over the crackdown on protesters, including targeting Tehran’s “morality police,” Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders and state media.

The dollar was selling for as much as 447,000 rials on Iran’s unofficial market on Saturday, compared with 430,500 the previous day, according to the foreign exchange site

The rial has lost 29 percent of its value since nationwide protests began.

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