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Iran temporarily bans luxury goods imports

The Islamic Republic tries to shore up its struggling economy.

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Iran's biggest denomination of currency, 100,000 Rials, as displayed in Tehran. Iran's currency has devalued sharply in recent months. One US dollar today equals around 30,000 rials, according to a November 8, 2012 Reuters report. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran today blocked imports of 75 luxury goods in an effort to boost domestic manufacturing and keep the currency in-country, reported the Associated Press, making foreign-made items like mobile phones, laptops, cars, and clothing no longer available to consumers there. 

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Iran's economy is struggling after being hit with a rash of economic sanctions over its disputed nuclear program. Western countries fear the Islamic Republic is using the program to make a bomb, a charge Iran denies. 

Reuters cited the state-run Iran Daily as saying the goods will remain unavailable pending a "final review." 

The move represents Iran's "most sweeping measure so far" to help aid its crippled economy, according to AP

The country's foreign import costs run about $50 billion a year, Reuters said, citing government sources. 

Commerce Ministry official Sasan Khodaei told local press that luxury items account for about $4 million a year. "By stopping permits on them there will be a remarkable saving of hard currency," he told the IRAN newspaper today, reported AP

Iran in October prohibited the export of a number of basic items, including wheat, flour, and sugar, said Reuters

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/121108/iran-temporarily-bans-luxury-goods-imports