Abdolmehdi Mousavi, the head of Markazi province judiciary

Iranian Official Sparks Doubts with AI Currency Manipulation Claim

Sunday, 11/12/2023

A top Iranian judiciary official has stirred controversy by alleging the involvement of an "organized network" using artificial intelligence to create disruptions in the currency market.

Abdolmehdi Mousavi, the head of Markazi province judiciary, claimed the network, comprising both Iranians and people based outside the country, “leveraged AI to orchestrate fictitious pricing and futures trading of gold and currency through the deployment of robots and the establishment of Telegram channels, all without actual physical exchanges.”

However, Mousavi's claim lacks detailed explanations on how AI could impact the exchange market, leading to skepticism and questioning the credibility of the assertion.

This is not the first instance of the Iranian government attributing currency fluctuations to speculators, resorting to drastic measures, including arrests and executions. Notably, in 2018, two men, including Vahid Mazloumin, dubbed the 'Sultan of Coins' and allegedly found with two tons of gold coins, were executed for illegal currency transactions.

The Iranian government's persistent efforts to control the currency market highlight its desperation to bolster the Iranian rial. Since the United States withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear accord in 2018 and imposed sanctions, the Iranian rial has undergone a 12-fold devaluation.

The devaluation has further compounded the already high inflation rate, prompting more Iranians to seek alternative currencies for their savings.

Despite the government's continued attempts to control the exchange market, the Iranian rial faces ongoing challenges. Currently trading at nearly 510,000 to the US dollar, the currency's value has sharply declined from around 250,000 rials per dollar just one year ago.

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