Robert Tait in Tehran
The Guardian - Iran's financial system suffered a fresh jolt yesterday with panic selling on the stock market after the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, abruptly ordered banks to cut interest rates sharply, despite surging inflation.
The order, which Mr Ahmadinejad issued by telephone during a visit to Belarus and which flew in the face of expert advice - has triggered warnings of a financial crisis and spiralling corruption amid fears of a capital flight from the country's lending institutions.
Experts warn of the popular backlash that other countries have faced when dealing with the same need to raise long-subsidized staple prices. At the same time, they doubt the 25 percent price hike imposed this week on Iran's gasoline will do very much, on its own, to solve the country's underlying economic problems.
TEHRAN (AFP) - Oil-rich Iran on Tuesday increased the price of petrol by 25 percent despite announcements by the government only the day before that prices would remain the same for the moment.
Surprised drivers in Tehran found that pump prices had been hiked overnight to 1,000 rials (10 cents) from 800 rials a litre (eight cents), in the first move in a major plan to reduce the colossal state subsidies on petrol.
AFP - Iran's Central Bank has adopted a directive that would allow foreign firms to set up branches in the Islamic republic and buy stakes in Iranian banks, state media reported on Sunday.
"The directive allows the opening of banks with joint Iranian and foreign investment, the possession of shares in Iranian banks by foreign investors and foreign banks to set up branches in the country," the central bank said in a statement on the state-run IRNA news agency.
The research by the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank may be the most comprehensive attempt to publicly identify corporate and government investors whose withdrawal could potentially affect Iran's nuclear policy.
The plan, aimed at reducing the lavish subsidies that keep petrol prices low, should be put off as the technology to enforce the rationing is not ready, the head of parliament's energy commission, Kamal Daneshyar said according to local media.
LONDON, April 27, 2007 (AFP) - World oil prices steadied on Friday in muted trade ahead of the weekend, dealers said.
In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for June delivery eased one cent to 67.64 dollars per barrel in electronic trading.
NEW DELHI, India, April 27, 2007 (AFP) - India has urged Iran to honour a 22-billion dollar natural gas sales deal concluded two years ago, warning Tehran it could lose credibility if it went back on the agreement, a report said Friday.