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Iran unveils 'budget of resistance' to sanctions with help from $5bn Russian loan

Iran’s president says his country will depend less on oil revenue in a budget designed to resist crippling US sanctions

Iran unveils 'budget of resistance' to sanctions with help from $5bn Russian loan
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced a $40bn budget for 2020. Photograph: AP

Iran’s president says his country will depend less on oil revenue next year, in a “budget of resistance” that will partly depend on a $5bn Russian loan.

Speaking during Sunday’s opening session of parliament, Hassan Rouhani said: “The budget is based on maximum pressure and sanctions.

“Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions. This budget announces to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil.”

If Tehran is pushed too far, it may hit out in ways that are disastrous

Rouhani added that the Iranian government’s budget will also benefit from a $5bn loan from Russia that’s being finalised.

The next Iranian fiscal year begins 20 March, with the advent of the Persian New Year. The budget is set to be about $40bn, some 20% higher than in 2019.

Rouhani said the US and Israel will remain “hopeless” despite their goal of weakening Iran through sanctions.

In his speech, Rouhani announced a 15% increase for public sector wages in a country whose economy has been battered by US sanctions.

The budget comes after fuel price hikes that were imposed in mid-November triggered deadly demonstrations across the Islamic republic.

Donald Trump began imposing punitive measures in May 2018, after unilaterally withdrawing from an accord that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear programme.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Iran’s economy will contract by 9.5%.

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