As the collapse in oil prices accelerated this week, with Brent and WTI hitting six-year lows of just over $40/B, Iran is considering the reduction of its budget oil price assumption to $40/B from the original price of $72/B set in the budget unveiled in early December, Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyib Nia was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on 15 January.

The minister said that some projects in the budget will be “reconsidered” in the light of the fall in oil prices during this difficult stage. “The [price] war that has started today is worse than the imposed war [with Iraq],” he said. The minister added that Iran needs unity and solidarity among various groups to pull the country out of the economic hardship. However Mr Tayyib Nia said that while the people have put their trust in the government, some groups with narrow political agendas were trying to discredit the government and thus disappoint the people’s aspirations for better conditions. But he warned here that if the government were to fail the people, then in turn this could bring about the failure of the Islamic regime. (CONTINUED - 411 WORDS)