As the oil embargo on Iranian oil by the European Union is about to take effect and with the remarks by EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, foreign currencies in Tehran reached their highest exchange rates during the last three months. The US Dollar was being exchanged at about 2,000 Toman and the official 16,000 Toman Azadi coin was in demand for 714,000 per piece, figures that looked unrecognizable even by Iranian standards.
Rooz reporters in Tehran have described the scene on Ferdowsi Avenue and Istanbol Crossing – the bustling unofficial foreign exchange nerve centers of the country – to be that of a rush zone to buy foreign exchange and valuable coins, all related to the imminent embargo on the country’s oil in the international market launched by Europe. But despite the havoc in that market, Revolutionary Guard oil minister Rostam Ghasemi said during a cabinet meeting, “We hope that Europeans act rationally and this event (the oil embargo) does not take place. But if we take advantage of the embargo, most certainly the interests of the Islamic will be fulfilled. Sanctions are both an opportunity and a threat. We shall utilize this opportunity.”