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Can Rafsanjani Save Iran’s Economy?

Whoever wins the Iranian presidential election will face a daunting economic challenge.
Iranian supporter of presidential candidate Rafsanjani puts US bill in front of pre-election poster outside Tehran's bazaar.   An Iranian supporter of presidential candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani puts a US$100 bill in front of his pre-election poster outside Tehran's bazaar June 7, 2005. Tehran's bazaar is a bastion of conservative power in the Islamic Republic and played a leading role in the 1979 Islamic revolution. But merchants know their traditional trading methods are threatened by attempts to mode

On May 11, when news emerged that former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani might register for the upcoming presidential elections, the free currency market froze for a few hours. Some currency exchange bureaus even announced that hard currency rates would not be announced until it was known whether Rafsanjani had registered as a candidate. 

While the last-minute nomination came as a surprise to many, it could be expected that the news would lead to a positive response from the key economic and business players in the country. Immediately after his registration, the price of gold coins (a main indicator of market trends) and foreign currencies started dropping. In fact, the Iranian rial appreciated by about 4% compared to the US dollar within one day. 

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