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Fear of price hikes prompts Iranians to stock up

April 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM
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TEHRAN, April 24 (UPI) -- Iran's economics minister acknowledged inflation is a problem as shoppers rushed to stockpile staples before an expected 60 percent increase in prices.

Western sanctions have caused a huge drop in the value of Iran's national currency, the rial, and new exchange rates mean importers will have to pay nearly double for goods, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Economics minister Shamseddin Hosseini said Iranians fully support the government's resistance to sanctions, adding it "forces you to find new ways to be creative."

Shoppers rushed to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples Tuesday to stockpile goods before the prices go up.

At a department store in downtown Tehran, shoppers were seen loading dozens of bottles of cooking oil into carts.

"I'm hoarding now, so that I don't lose money later," said one homemaker who identified herself only as Zahra. "Again, the prices of everything will go up."

The value of Iran's national currency has fallen by half in the past few years, partly due to Western sanctions imposed as a result of its nuclear program.

Economists in Tehran attribute the rest of the drop to economic mismanagement.

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