Iran parliament to probe central bank over response to rial's fall

DUBAI Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:45pm GMT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's parliament voted 171 to 36 to investigate the country's central bank over its response to last year's currency crisis, parliamentary news agency Icana reported.

Iranian media also reported on Sunday that Mahmoud Bahmani, Iran's central bank governor, had asked to leave his post, but there was no confirmation or denial from the central bank.

The value of the Iranian rial against the U.S. dollar has plummeted in the last year following sanctions on the central bank and a European Union embargo on Iranian oil, believed to have curtailed Tehran's hard currency earnings.

Critical legislators have accused the central bank of economic mismanagement for its handling of the currency's decline, including accusations that it did not provide the market with enough dollars to meet demand, helping to drive down the rial.

"There are many questions that need to be asked in order to uncover the truth, because the responsibility of organising the currency market is with the central bank," said Mohammad Alipour, spokesman for parliament's economic committee, according to Icana.

"One of the questions is what preventive measures this bank took to organise the market and prevent price jumps."

The investigation will also look into how the central bank manages Iran's money market, sets interest and loan facility rates, and allocates currency for imported goods, Alipour said.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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