TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Abdolnaser Hemmati, 61, replaced Valiollah Seif as the top Iranian banker following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Tasnim news agency reported.
Hemmati was a former instructor of economics at University of Tehran, before serving as the head of the Central Insurance of Iran, as well as Sina Bank and Bank Melli.
He had been named as Iran’s ambassador to China but his new post means the plan has been cancelled.
In his address to the cabinet Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani cited reform of the banking system, financial and monetary policies, and the improvement of banking relationships with the world as well as preserving foreign exchange reserves as the priorities of the new head of the Central Bank.
Rouhani described the new central bank head an educated and well-informed person, an experienced banker and insurer, with good manners, high spirits and strong capabilities, recommending all members of the government to cooperate with him.
The president also thanked Seif for his services, hailing him as a “very healthy and valuable manager who was seriously implementing all government policies.”
Seif’s tenure, however, saw Iran’s national currency lose its value against the US dollar by more than three times. The dollar was trading for about 30,000 rials when he took over five years ago. Now, it is changing hands at more than 90,000 rials on the unofficial market.
It also marked several illegal credit institutions going bust, locking in the savings of several thousands of depositors whose appeals to the government for help have largely gone unanswered.
The market reacted positively to the news, with the dollar and gold coins which serve as a barometer of the economic situation shedding value.
The gold coin settled down at 30,300,000 rials on Wednesday, after setting a new record high of 30,500,000 rials a day before.
Market watchers expect the prices to drop further in the coming days because of new monetary and forex policies which President Rouhani’s new economic team is likely to announce.
On Wednesday, head of Iran's Plan and Budget Organization Mohammad Baqer Nobakht was reported to have tendered his resignation and that Ali Tayebnia was about to take over as the chair of the body which drafts the country’s annual budget.
Tayebnia served as minister of economic affairs and finance during President Rouhani’s first term, whose exclusion from the new cabinet surprised many Iranians.
Tayebnia is known for monetary discipline which has now become the government’s main liability because of an unchecked liquidity flow and credited with bringing Iran’s inflation rate from as much as 40% down to single digits.