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Iranian economy to look beyond oil

Published By United Press International
TEHRAN, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Iranian government aims to diversify an economy that depends in large part on oil revenues, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

Economic sanctions imposed on Iran for its nuclear program were in part responsible for a collapse of the Iranian currency. Ahmadinejad said efforts to raise revenue from sources other than oil were imperative for the Iranian economy.

"The role of oil revenues, as well as government spending in the next Iranian calendar's budget bill, has been decreased," Ahmadinejad was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying. "The government has plans to diversify its revenue sources."

The World Bank estimates that revenue from oil and natural gas exports made up about 60 percent of Iran's revenue last year. The bank said the economic growth outlook for Iran is negative.

Iranian officials met with Sudanese Oil Minister Awad al-Jaz last weekend. Ahmadinejad told the visiting minister that both sides needed to work together given pressure on their governments.

"We, with the help of each other, can overcome the difficult conditions imposed by enemies on us," he was quoted by the independent Sudan Tribune as saying.
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