Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2019

Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

  • Rouhani said the draft state budget was designed to resist US sanctions

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presented to parliament what he called a “budget of resistance” against crippling sanctions imposed by arch-enemy 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 the Islamic republic.

In his speech, Rouhani announced a 15 percent increase for public sector wages in a country whose economy has been battered by US sanctions.

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.


NATO to hold urgent talks after Turkish troops killed in Syria

Updated 28 February 2020

NATO to hold urgent talks after Turkish troops killed in Syria

  • Turkey said the airstrikes happened despite coordination with Russian officials on the ground
  • A total of 53 Turkish security personnel have been killed in Idlib this month

BRUSSELS: NATO’s ruling council will meet Friday for urgent talks on the Syria crisis after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike blamed on Damascus.
“The North Atlantic Council, which includes the ambassadors of all 29 NATO allies, will meet on Friday 28 February following a request by Turkey to hold consultations under article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty on the situation in Syria,” the alliance said in a statement.
Under Article 4, any NATO member can request talks when they believe their “territorial integrity, political independence or security” is threatened.
It is separate from the alliance’s Article 5 mutual self-defense pact, which refers to an attack on any members’ territory.
Dozens more Turkish troops were injured in the air strike in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, where President Bashar Assad is seeking to wipe out the last rebel stronghold.
The losses come after weeks of growing tensions between Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow, and bring to 53 the number of Turkish security personnel killed in the province this month.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged de-escalation and condemned the “indiscriminate” air strikes in a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar later said the airstrikes happened despite coordination with Russian officials on the ground, and that the attacks continued after a warning being made after the first strikes. Akar also said 309 Syrian government soldiers, which are backed which are backed by Moscow, were killed in retaliation.

Ankara has called talks under Article 4 a number of times in recent years — twice in 2012 including after one of its jets was shot down by Syrian forces, and once in 2015 after a spate of terrorists attacks in Turkey.
After the 2012 incidents NATO agreed to deploy Patriot missile batteries in Turkey as a defensive measure.

Meanwhile, groups of migrants in Turkey headed toward its borders with Greece and Bulgaria on Friday, Reuters reporters said, after a senior official said Ankara will no longer abide by a 2016 EU deal and stop refugees from reaching Europe.