Ahmadinejad is called to account after rial falls to record low

Iran's parliament has summoned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to answer questions about the national currency going into free-fall after Western sanctions over the country's nuclear programme.

The rial hit a record low of 34,500 against the US dollar yesterday, a slide from 29,400 on Sunday, with the trend likely to continue.

One MP, Mohammad Bayatian, said yesterday that enough signatures had been collected to call the President before the 290-member Majlis to demand an explanation for the crisis.

It is the second time the Majlis has called Mr Ahmadinejad to account this year. He had made a previous appearance to explain his public feud with the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The parliamentary Speaker, Ali Larijani, has become increasingly critical of Mr Ahmadinejad, saying that 80 per cent of the rial's problems were due to government mismanagement.

Growing alarm at the fall of the rial had led to a sharp rise in the numbers of Iranians buying foreign currency. Some in the business sector have blamed government policies, as well as sanctions, for the currency collapse.

However, Mr Ahmadinejad claimed Iran's economy was holding up despite sanctions, which have slashed earnings from oil exports. There were enough foreign reserves, he insisted, to finance imports. The President publicly criticised Mr Larijani for the first time saying: "The Speaker should help the government overcome the problem instead of accusing the administration."

He accused Iran's enemies of waging a psychological war, but stressed that imports totalled $26bn in the first half of this year, down only moderately from $29bn in the same period last year.

The fall of the rial had accelerated in the past week after the government launched an "exchange centre" to supply dollars to importers of basic goods. But businessmen have complained that the centre has failed to meet the demand for dollars.

Defending his domestic policies, Mr Ahmadinejad said a phasing-out of the food and fuel subsidies he launched in 2010, which has boosted the official inflation rate to around 25 per cent, had been successful.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral