Iran Nuclear NewsIran's stocks plunge after vote for U.N. review of...

Iran’s stocks plunge after vote for U.N. review of nuclear program

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New York Times: Iran’s government and Parliament held emergency meetings this week on the country’s plummeting stock market, where prices have declined nearly 30 percent since Sept. 24. The decline began after the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council for violating its nuclear obligations. New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI

TEHRAN – Iran’s government and Parliament held emergency meetings this week on the country’s plummeting stock market, where prices have declined nearly 30 percent since Sept. 24. The decline began after the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council for violating its nuclear obligations.

Meraj Naderi, a stock analyst in Tehran, said: “The line to sell shares was really long and there was no one to buy. There had been ups and downs in the stock market but I had never seen such a thing.”

A Tehran economist, Saeed Leylaz, said, “We can call it the black September in Iran’s stock market.”

Iranian investors appeared to be moving millions into Dubai’s market, which opened to foreign investors last month. Since the Iranian revolution, Iranian investors have put billions into real estate and other fixed investments in Dubai.

The drop in stock prices was widely seen as a reaction to the nuclear agency vote, and the international tensions raised by Iran’s return to processing uranium and threat to ban nuclear inspectors, as well as a highly confrontational speech by the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the United Nations. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, though it has admitted hiding parts of its capacity for years.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president, made a strong speech on Friday at Tehran University, saying the nuclear standoff was “a very serious and crucial situation.” He called on officials to put aside confrontational rhetoric, even as he emphasized Iran’s right to nuclear technology.

“Managers at this sector should know that we need diplomacy and not slogans,” he said.

“This is the place for wisdom, the place for seeking windows that will lead you to the goal,” he said. “This is where we should use all our leverages with patience and wisdom, without provocation and slogans that can give pretexts to the enemies.”

Mr. Rafsanjani is now running the Expediency Council, which helps mediate disputes between the elected government and the cleric-controlled Guardian Council. That group has final say over all government actions. Last week, the country’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, empowered the Expediency Council to supervise Parliament, the judiciary and the government.

Most newspapers have avoided publishing editorials about the nuclear debates, fearing that the government would see them as endangering national security and close them. But recently, dozens of editorials and commentaries have appeared urging moves to stop the nuclear agency, at its next meeting in November, from voting to send Iran’s case to the Security Council. The resolution last month gave no time frame.

The daily Shargh advised the government to recruit its best diplomats for a “nuclear crisis group” to try to ease international tensions through diplomatic channels.

“Iran’s policy of relying on the east turned out to be impractical,” wrote Nabiollah Ibrahimi, referring to several surprising votes by its allies. India voted in favor of referring Iran to the Security Council, while China and Russia abstained rather than voting no. “Our foreign policy should have a good understanding of international powers and try to distance the country from being referred to the Security Council.”

The IRNA news agency reported Wednesday that Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif, had resigned from the nuclear negotiating team, but Mr. Zarif’s staff, reached by telephone, denied that. Mr. Zarif has worked to improve relations with the West.

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