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Iranians struggling to fight inflation under sanctions

(Xinhua)

08:40, February 22, 2012

TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- "If you stay here and look, you will find (people's) hands are bare. Shopkeepers are all complaining ... the incomes have decreased," Ali Reza sighed, watching bustling people walking past his dress shop in Tehran's Grand Bazaar.

The Grand Bazzar, with a history of hundreds of years, is the commodities center of Tehran. It's a marketplace frequented by many Iranians and merchants where various types of goods are sold.

With tensions escalating over Iran's nuclear issue and increasing pressure being placed on the Islamic Republic, ordinary Iranians are suffering from the Western-imposed sanctions and struggling to pay rising living costs.

"Life has become very difficult. Since the (new rounds of) sanctions started, prices have risen and the U.S. dollar has appreciated (against Iran's currency rial)," Reza told Xinhua on Sunday, "The increase in prices has weakened the shopping capacity of people. "

"When people's purchasing power fades, businesses are affected, " he grumbled.

Since September, Western countries have been slapping more and more sanctions on Tehran due to the latter's unwillingness to retreat over its suspected nuclear program.

The European Union (EU) last month renewed pressure on Iran by deciding to sanction Tehran's lifeline oil exports and central bank.

Harsh sanctions have caused a free fall of the rial's value against the U.S. dollar, which many Iranian businesses and manufacturers need for importing materials for production, and in return inflation rocketed.

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