In this photo released by the official website of the Office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. Rouhani says Tehran hasn't closed the window on talks with the U.S. but reiterated his government's standing condition that the Trump administration lift sanctions imposed on Iran before any negotiations can take place. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Iran says new budget bucks US oil embargo, uses Russian loan

December 08, 2019 - 2:11 am

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s president said on Sunday his country will depend less on oil revenue next year, in a new budget that is designed to resist crippling U.S. trade embargoes.

Iran is in the grips of an economic crisis. The U.S. re-imposed sanctions that block Iran from selling its crude oil abroad, following President Trump's decision to withdraw from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“The budget sends a message to the world that despite the sanctions, we will manage the country,” President Hassan Rouhani told the opening session of Parliament.

The budget will counter "maximum pressure and sanctions'' by the U.S., 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 U.S. and Israel will remain “hopeless” 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.

Iran's economic woes in part fueled the anger seen in nationwide protests last month that Iranian security forces violently put down, unrest that Amnesty International says killed over 200 people.

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