Iranian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia have been caught up in the sudden fall in the value of the Iranian rial against the Saudi rial, which is severely limiting their spending power.

The Mehr News Agency reports that the extreme fluctuations in Tehran’s currency market mean the cost of one Saudi rial has risen from 3,500 Iranian rials to 10,000.

The report adds that a large number of pilgrims who entered Medina in the past few days have lost much of their spending power. Unlike last year, local retailers and some stores are reportedly refusing to accept Iranian currency.

The Iranian government, despite several measures, has been unable to calm the currency market, and yesterday the rial had its steepest fall, losing another 15 percent in value.

The fall has come after widespread international sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors kicked in last July.

Today, Iran’s minister of industry called on security forces to crack down on currency speculators, insisting that their activities are responsible for the sudden fall in the rial.