Iran’s oil revenue in the current fiscal year ending on 20 March 2013 is projected to fall by half compared to the previous year, Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Shamseddin Hosseini, was quoted as saying by Tehran’s economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad during an interview on 15 December on state television. “Because of sanctions, revenues collected from the country’s oil have dropped by 50%,” he said, but added that there would not be problems in paying salaries until the end of the year. A report from Iran’s state ISNA news agnecy quoting the minister said oil revenue would fall to IR950,000bn ($77.5bn at the official rate of $1=IR12,260).

This clear acknowledgement by an Iranian minister that western sanctions are hurting the country by reducing oil export revenue is not the first. Last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted that the state budget was under pressure and that the government had cut spending in some areas in order to cope with the sanctions imposed on Iran because of the nuclear standoff. “In many places, the budget had become nil or has been cut by 25%,” he said (MEES, 12 October). (CONTINUED - 731 WORDS)