Saturday, 08 August, 2020

“Iran opted for infrastructure investment despite economic woes”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his administration opted for massive visionary investment in the country’s infrastructure despite economic woes caused by American sanctions.

Speaking to a group of petrochemicals and steel industry leaders in Tehran on Monday, Rouhani said heavy investment in Iran’s energy sector would prove worthwhile in a few years’ time despite current criticism that his administration should have spent more to control a rampant foreign currency market.

“Others planted and we ate. We should plant, so others may eat. It is a proverb of ours that goes back to old times, it is a wise and realistic word,” said Rouhani.

He said his government, in office since August 2013, has already spent $14 billion to develop Iran’s petrochemical sector, adding that the industry would continue to expand through a further investment of $8 billion.

Iran has seen a major decline in oil revenues mainly because of American sanctions while the national currency rial has lost much of its value since 2018 when the US launched its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran.

Critics believe Rouhani’s government should have injected more foreign currency into the forex market to control fluctuations in the price of rial.

“Basically, this is an incorrect mindset. We have a heavy and paramount duty toward the national interests and (toward) our people, no matter what government is in office,” Rouhani added.

Lower exports of crude have been partly compensated by increasing shipments of petchem products from Iran, said Rouahni, adding that output for refined products had doubled since 2013, including the production of gasoline which he said had increased from 50 million liters per day to 110 million liters currently. 

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