President Rouhani put out a stark warning for Iran’s fragile economy on Wednesday, telling Parliament that oil revenues are down 30% amid a drop in the global price of crude.
Rouhani has pursued economic recovery after the building crisis over inflation, falling production, unemployment, and the Iranian currency and financial sector under his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His officials have claimed some success, with inflation dropping from more than 40% when he took office last August to around 25% in September.
However, the President said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic should be prepared to deal with “the new conditions” brought by the falling oil income.
The price of Brent crude has fallen more than 25% since June, dropping from $115 per barrel to about $85. Iran has also had to absorb its own discount — amid US-led sanctions, it cut its crude price to attract Asian customers.
With the majority of export income coming from crude sales, the 2014-2015 Government budget is tied to a high oil price — analysts estimate its “break-even” point needs a level of about $140 per barrel.
Iran also faces the continuing squeeze of the international sanctions, which continue to hold its oil exports about 40% below its 2012 level of 2.2 million barrels per day.
Iran Blasts “Meddlesome” West Over Execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denounced comments by Western officials about last weekend’s execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a young woman who killed a former Intelligence Ministry official whom she said had tried to rape her.
“Meddling in a judicial case which has gone through full legal proceedings under the due process of law and in which the right of appeal has been granted is unacceptable,” spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Wednesday.
Jabbari was imprisoned in 2014 at the age of 19. She was kept under the threat of death despite appeals by international organizations and a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures.
“The case has gone through the legal proceedings under the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in accordance with the duties entrusted to the judicial system by the legislature,” Afkham insisted.
In her farewell note to her mother, Jabbari said:
When this incident happened, my teachings did not help me. Being presented in court made me appear as a cold-blooded murderer and a ruthless criminal. I shed no tears. I did not beg. I did not cry my head off since I trusted the law.
But I was charged with being indifferent in face of a crime.
Rouhani Tries to Ease Tension With Turkey With Message to Erdoğan
President Rouhani has tried to ease tensions with Turkey through a message to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I’m confident that through joint efforts by the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, friendly relations between the two countries will further expand at bilateral and international levels and in line with the mutual interests of both nations,” President Rouhani assured, as he congratulated Erdoğan on Turkey’s Republic Day.
Turkey’s support has been important to Iran in economic and political affairs, but the relationship has been strained in the last three years over the Syrian crisis.
Earlier this week, Erdoğan accused Iran of exploiting divisions within Syria.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry responded:
Ankara’s interference in Syrian internal affairs has unfortunately resulted in prolonging the war and extensive deaths of innocent Syrian civilians.
The crisis in Syria could have ended three years ago if Turkish officials stopped demanding regime change and supporting terrorist groups in Syria.