Exiting dollar, Iran puts 70% of reserves in other currencies and gold


From Agence France-Press
via Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan
Tuesday, September 18, 2007


TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has massively cut down its dependence on the dollar in the face of US pressure over its nuclear programme and now 70 percent of its foreign assets are saved in other currencies or in gold, an official said on Monday.

"fter the strong fall in the dollar and the decision to transfer our foreign currency reserves into euros, we have taken measures and now 70 percent of Iranian assets are in euros, other currencies, or gold," said Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Zahedi Vafa.

Iran had announced earlier this year it was switching out of dollars and would instead save its foreign assets in other currencies to dampen the effects of US pressure on its financial system.

The United States has been seeking to make international banking transactions harder for Iran as another tool to pressure Tehran into backing down over its controversial nuclear programme.

Several European banks have drastically cut business with Iran as result of pressure from the United States.

Caretaker Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari has said that already 60 percent of Iran's oil transactions for export are carried out in euros.

Iran's foreign currency reserves held in banks abroad have risen by 37 percent over the past year to the equivalent of $65 billion as of the end of June 2007, the central bank said last week.

The world's fourth largest oil exporter and the second in OPEC has been helped by soaring crude prices, which are helping the country weather domestic economic problems.

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