Iran Unveils Budget of ‘Resistance’ against US Sanctions
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presented to parliament what he called a "budget of resistance" against crippling sanctions imposed by the United States.
"Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions," Rouhani told parliament in remarks broadcast on state radio.
"This budget announces to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil," he added.
The budget for the financial year starting late March 2020 comes after fuel price hikes that were imposed in mid-November triggered deadly demonstrations across Iran.
In his speech, Rouhani announced a 15 percent increase for public sector wages in a country whose economy has been battered by US sanctions.
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 "hopeless" despite their goal of weakening Iran through sanctions.
The budget aimed at giving more relief and "removing difficulties'' for poor people by heavily subsiding food and medical needs, he stated.
The budget is set to be about $40 billion, some 10% higher than in 2019. The increase comes as the country is suffering from a 40% inflation rate.
Parliament has until early February to discuss the budget bill. The Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, must approve the bill for it to become law.
US President Donald Trump began imposing punitive measures in May 2018, after unilaterally withdrawing from an accord that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Iran's economy will contract by 9.5 percent this year.