Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses parliament in Tehran on December 25. Photo: AFP
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses parliament in Tehran on December 25, 2018. Photo: AFP

President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unveiled Iran’s first annual budget since the reimposition of American sanctions, saying it had been adjusted to take account of Washington’s “cruel” measures.

Rouhani announced a 20% increase in public sector wages in a sign of the economic challenges the Islamic republic has faced since Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this year.

The speech highlighted only a few general points of the budget – which will now be reviewed and voted on by parliament – but acknowledged the pressure Iran was facing.

“Last year we faced some problems,” Rouhani told parliament in a televised speech, referring to the widespread protests that engulfed the country almost exactly a year ago, sparked by anger over economic and political conditions.

“Those events caused the Americans to change their position regarding the Islamic republic and the nuclear deal,” he said.

“The real objective of the US in all of this conspiracy and sanction and pressure… is to bring the powerful Islamic republic of Iran to its knees,” he said, vowing that the US “will definitely be defeated.”

The renewed American sanctions include an embargo on Iran’s crucial oil sector.

The new budget did not say how many barrels of oil Iran hopes to sell in the next financial year, which starts in late March, but analysts believe it will be considerably less than the approximately 2.5 million it sold per day prior to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Washington  granted waivers to eight key buyers of Iranian oil – including China, India and Turkey. However, this has been a double-edged sword for Iran since it also helped push down the global price.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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