DUBAI - Iran's central bank has for weeks failed to provide US dollars to traders to import essential goods, driving down the value of the country's currency against the dollar, a senior Iranian lawmaker said on Monday.

The Iranian rial slid to a record low on Monday, reaching 25,650 rials per dollar, about half its value a year ago, according to currency tracking website Mesghal.

That represents a slump of about 17 percent since Thursday and comes as Iran faces increasing economic and political pressure over its disputed nuclear program.

The rial trades at two rates in Iran: a "reference" rate of 12,260 to the dollar maintained by the central bank and available only for the import of essential items, and the far weaker rate determined by a street market made up of small money changers, in which most Iranians can obtain hard currency.

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