Iran has appointed a new head of its central bank after the currency crashed to its lowest level ever against the U.S. dollar amid economic troubles aggravated by more than three months of nationwide protests.
The government appointed Mohammad Reza Farzin, 57, as the new governor of the central bank during a cabinet meeting on December 29, state TV reported.
Farzin, a former deputy finance minister, had served as CEO of Bank Melli Iran since last year.
He is replacing Ali Salehabadi, who resigned after 15 months at the post.
The Iranian currency, the rial, reached a new all-time low against the U.S. dollar on December 28, with one dollar worth 430,000 rials, down from 370,000 earlier this month.
Iranians have been scrambling to convert their savings into foreign currencies, especially U.S. dollars and euros, amid a worsening economic situation triggered by years of Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program and political instability sparked by the ongoing anti-government protest movement.
The rial was trading at 300,000 to the U.S. dollar when the unrest erupted after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. The demonstrations rapidly escalated into calls for an end to more than 40 years of clerical rule.
The weakening of the currency has also been accelerated by a lack of progress on negotiations with the West to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers that had scrapped most international economic sanctions in exchange for limits to Tehran's nuclear program.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to resume nuclear activities nuclear activities prohibited by the nuclear pact.