Ahmadinejad says 2010/11 budget to be less dependent on oil
Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that the national budget for 2010/11 would be less dependent on oil revenues.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that the national budget for 2010/11 would be less dependent on oil revenues.
"We have paid special attention to reducing dependence on oil income, increasing non-oil revenue," Ahmadinejad told parliament in a speech broadcast live on state radio.
Ahmadinejad, who faces opposition protests seven months after his re-election in June, also said Iran would announce "good news" about its nuclear fuel production in February.
A senior official said the world's fifth-largest oil producer's budget for the next Iranian year, which starts on March 21, was based on an oil price of $60 per barrel, higher than last year's $37.5 per barrel.
"The budget is based on around $60 per barrel," said Rahim Membini, the president's deputy in charge of Iran's budget affairs, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Oil prices fell to four-week lows on Friday, with U.S. crude settling at $74.54 per barrel and ICE Brent crude at $72.83. Prices are at roughly half the peak seen in July 2008 but double the level oil had sunk to by the end of that year.
The new move aimed at making the Islamic state less vulnerable to any Western sanctions.
The United States and its European allies are planning to impose further sanctions on Iran after its failure to meet a Dec. 31 U.S. deadline for accepting a U.N.-brokered proposal to send its uranium abroad for processing.
Tehran has sought amendments to the deal, under which it would transfer stocks of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad and receive fuel in return for a medical research reactor. Tehran says it could produce the fuel itself if it is not able to obtain it from abroad.
"Good news" on enrichment
"We will have good news over production of 20 percent enriched fuel in February," Ahmadinejad told reporters in parliament after presenting the budget. "This news will make the Iranian nation and other independent nations happy."
The president described the new budget as "transparent, integrated and flexible", but did not offer any overall figures.
To ease the impact of sanctions on, for example, gasoline imports, parliament approved in December a bill to phase out energy and food subsidies.
By carrying out the plan, the government will save up to $100 billion annually from subsidies on gasoline, natural gas, electricity, water, food, health and education.
"The inflation will drop to five percent by implementation of the subsidy bill," Ahmadinejad said. The official inflation rate in Iran stands around 13 percent. The plan is expected to be implemented in the next Iranian year.
Reuters Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2010, 15:00