DUBAI, Dec 24, (RTRS): Iran’s Finance Minister Ali Tayyebnia said on Tuesday that Tehran was prepared to deal with the economic impact of oil prices even as low as $30 per barrel, as Brent oil’s fall to an 11-year low of just above $36 a barrel. Iran has repeatedly blamed its regional rival Saudi Arabia of plotting to bring down crude prices as a tactic to undermine its sanctions-hit economy.
The minister’s comments struck another defiant note that the Islamic Republic would survive even if the oil prices fall further. Tayyebnia said the Iran’s taxation program could help reduce reliance on petrodollars, Press TV reported on Tuesday. Iran drafted a state budget for next fiscal year (starting on March 20) based on oil at around $35-40 a barrel.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that next year’s budget was less reliant on oil revenues than ever. “The share of oil income in the next year budget will be only 25 percent,” Rouhani said in a speech live on state television. Despite oil prices slump, Iran has vowed to ramp up crude oil production and reclaim its lost share of exports shortly after international sanctions on the OPEC member are lifted in January 2016. Iran’s crude oil exports could rise by half a million barrels per day within 6-12 months once sanctions against it are lifted.