Afghan Money Traders Profit Off Iran’s Currency Woes


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Sep 30, 2011
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Aziz Ahmad is one of the unlikely winners of the stand-off between the United States and Iran, turning his modest transport service into an international foreign exchange operation that is providing much-needed dollars to the stricken Iranian economy.

A driver in the western Afghan city of Herat, he crosses the border regularly, taking passengers in his transit van to Mashhad in Iran and carrying thousands of dollars to a country desperately starved of foreign exchange.

“Lately it’s been possible to make good money with dollars in Iran,” he said. On each trip, he takes about $5,000-6,000 with him, making around $100 on the exchange rate alone and buying foodstuffs and other products to sell back home.

“Usually, I bring back a few things you can make a profit on here,” he said.

Iran’s rial has lost 40 percent of its value since President Donald Trump’s decision on May 8 to pull the United States out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimpose tough economic sanctions on Tehran.

As the threat of renewed US sanctions starts to bite, Tehran has become increasingly desperate for dollars and neighboring Afghanistan, with a loosely regulated, dollarized economy and a border with few controls, is an obvious source.

No official figures exist for a trade which is conducted largely out of sight of the authorities, but money changers in Herat say there has been a clear increase since Trump pulled out of the nuclear accord.

Iranian rules allow travelers to bring in up to 10,000 euros ($11,697), which can be sold to banks in Iran, with the official rate at 42,450 rial to the dollar, well above an unofficial rate of some 77,000 on Wednesday. The government has threatened people trading dollars at unofficial rates with arrest.

Afghan Money Traders Profit Off Iran’s Currency Woes | TOLOnews

That's clever.

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