‘Fake passengers’ dollar trading plagues Iran’s rial

In the past few months the value of the US dollar has increased dramatically on Iran’s currency markets.

It has risen well above the Central Bank’s official rate, driving the bank to abandon its decade-long policy of maintaining a single rate.

But even as official rates have increased, independent traders have pushed theirs even higher.

The Central Bank blames so-called “fake passengers”. Iranians are permitted an allowance of international currency for foreign trips, and some are buying refundable tickets to enable them to buy dollars at the lower official rate – only to sell them on at higher market rates.

Inflation is already high, and fears are growing that the Iranian rial is losing value.

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