TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Traders in Iran say the country's currency has briefly reached its strongest level in nearly 10 months, reflecting hopes that Iran's newly elected president might ease tensions with the West.

Iran's rial was exchanged around 29,000 for $1 Sunday, compared to more than 36,000 before the June 14 election of Hasan Rowhani. The rial had not dipped below 30,000 since late September. Later Sunday it rose to about 31,000.

The rial has lost more than two-thirds of its value against the U. S. dollar since late 2011, partly because of sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

Rowhani's election boosted hope that his promises of international outreach could bring progress in the nuclear impasse. The West fears Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon. Iran says its program is for energy and research.

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