Iran’s president appoints new head of central bank

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state television says that the country’s president has appointed a private banker as the head of the country’s central bank.

The report Sunday said President Hasan Rouhani picked Valiollah Seif to run the country’s financial regulator. It said Seif will replace outgoing central bank head Mahmoud Bahmani.

Seif ran the private Karafarin bank in Iran. He also supports independence for the central bank and a floating rate for Iran’s currency, the rial, against foreign currencies.

Seif takes over the central bank as sanctions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program have been putting heavy pressure on the country’s economy for the past two years. Oil exports have been slashed in half and the rial has lost two-thirds of its value since late 2011. Inflation also has shot up in the country.

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