Iran draft budget reduces reliance on oil

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 19:45 hrs

Iran says its proposed national budget greatly reduces the country's reliance on oil revenues that are down because of Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech late Saturday that his government will seek to compensate the fall in oil revenues by cutting spending and increasing taxes in the next Iranian calendar year, which begins March 21.

Iran has long depended on oil sales for about 80 percent of its foreign currency revenue.

Iran's income from oil and gas exports has dropped by 45 percent as a result of sanctions.

The West fears Iran may ultimately be able to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

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