The US has unveiled fresh sanctions against Iran, targeting its currency, as it increases the pressure on Tehran to abandon its nuclear programme.
These include penalties on anyone facilitating “significant” transactions in the rial or holding significant amounts of the currency outside Iran.
A US official said the move would force institutions to dump rial holdings and weaken the currency further.
This is the first time the US has directly targeted the Iranian currency.
“This promises to make Iran’s weak currency, even weaker and more volatile,” the US official was quoted as saying.
“The idea here is to make the rial essentially unusable outside of Iran.”
The Iranian currency has fallen significantly against the US dollar over the past couple of years, hurt by a slew of sanctions against Tehran’s key sectors.