TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president said on Sunday his country will depend less on oil revenue next year, in a new state “budget of resistance” that is designed to resist crippling US trade embargoes.
Iran is in the grips of an economic crisis. In May 2018, the US began re-imposing sanctions that block Iran from selling its crude oil abroad, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over its continued development of ballistic missile programs and support for terror groups in the region. That accord had given Iran sanctions relief in return for limits on its nuclear program.
“Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions. This budget sends a message to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the opening session of Parliament.
The budget will counter “maximum pressure and sanctions” by the US, he said.
Rouhani added that the Iranian government will also benefit from a $5 billion loan from Russia that’s being finalized.
He said the US and Israel will remain “without hope” despite their goal of weakening Iran through sanctions.
The next Iranian fiscal year begins March 20, with the advent of the Persian New Year. The budget is set to be about $40 billion, some 20% higher than in 2019. The increase comes as the country is suffering from a 40% inflation rate.
Rouhani also announced in the speech a 15% increase for public sector wages as a stopgap to offset the effects of inflation.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Iran’s economy will contract by 9.5% this year.
Iran’s economic woes led to fuel price hikes in mid-November that helped trigger nationwide protests last month. Iranian security forces violently suppressed the protests, killing over 200 people, according to Amnesty International.