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Iran, Turkey presidents urge Muslim world to stop US dollar dependence

December 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech in Tehran, Iran on 9 December 2019 [Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on Muslim majority countries to cooperate in pushing back against US “economic terrorism”.

Speaking at the opening of a large summit  of Muslim countries being held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur this week, Rouhani said: “The American economic regime, and dollarisation of national and global economies, have provided the United States with the possibility of advancing its hegemony under the threat of sanctions and economic terrorism.”

Rouhani stressed that the Islamic world needs to be saved “from the domination of the United States dollar, and the American financial regime.”

READ: Iran economy to shrink 9.5% this year amid tighter US sanctions, says IMF

Iran’s Rouhani was not the only one to call for such a move, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also urged the Muslim world to decrease the global dependency on the US dollar and to “free bilateral trade from foreign exchange pressure”.

Erdogan stated that “Instead of trade with foreign currencies, we would like to do foreign trade with our national currencies,” adding that “We are trying to develop alternative payment systems with countries like Russia and China and Brazil.”

Iran has long attempted to free itself of the global economic banking system, promoting an “axis of resistance” against Western countries and the economies with which they operate by and which is significantly affected by the US economy and currency. It has also been suffering under increased US sanctions in recent years, stifling its chances of economic stability.

READ: Iran outlines budget to resist US sanctions as oil exports plunge

Turkey, on the other hand, has long been tied to the global economic system and operates by the same order as its Western neighbours. Recent economic pressure by the US throughout the past few years and the EU throughout this year has, however, forced it to reconsider its economic ties and look for alternative options and foreign economic partners.

The large summit, which was primarily organised by Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan, drew much criticism Saudi Arabia due to the kingdom’s view that it was attempting to compete with the Oganisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and is being attended by its rivals Iran and Qatar. Many allege that the reason Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan withdrew from the summit was because of the stance of the kingdom, with which it has strong relations with.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad denied Saudi Arabia’s concerns, saying that the summit was “not discriminating [against] or isolating anyone” and that the organisers “invited almost all Muslim nations to participate in this summit, albeit at different levels.”