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Iran may step away from petrodollars

Jan. 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM

TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Tehran can escape international sanctions pressure by moving away from a budget dependent on petrodollars, the Iranian president said.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced last week his country was the latest to target the energy, financial, trade and transportation sectors in Iran with new sanctions. Western allies have put economic pressure on Iran out of concern for its nuclear ambitions, which Tehran says are peaceful.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said one way to escape sanctions pressure was to stop depending on oil revenue in the country's budget.

"We should once and for all decide to eliminate petrodollars in the spending budget," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

The president, entering the last few months of his final term in office, said the government could use the mining sector, among others, to generate more income. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly report for January, stated that Iran was among member states that saw oil production declines.

Ahmadinejad has come under pressure by Iranian lawmakers frustrated with his economic policies. The national currency, the rial, collapsed last year under sanctions pressure.

Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV this week reported that Economic Minister Shamseddin Hosseini has decided to phase out the U.S. dollar and the euro for its foreign trade transactions.

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