TEHRAN, March 20 (UPI) -- The Iranian government isn't relying as much on oil revenue thanks in part to Western economic sanctions, the Iranian economic minister said.
The U.S. State Department gave Asian and European countries a waiver on sanctions for reducing the amount of crude oil purchased from Iran. Sanctions are meant to rob revenue from Iran that could fund a controversial nuclear program.
Iranian Economic Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said the government was weaning itself from oil as a source of revenue thanks in part to sanctions.
"Thanks to the sanctions by enemies, a historical dream of Iran is being realized as the oil revenues' share in the administration of the country's affairs has been reduced," he was quoted by the semi-official Fars News Agency as saying.
He didn't provide any figures. A report on sanctions in 2010 from the U.S. Government Accountability Office stated that oil export revenues accounted for about a quarter of Iran's gross domestic product and at least half of its government revenue.
Iran has some of the largest oil reserves in the world but hasn't reached peak crude oil production since 1978, the year before the Islamic Revolution.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in February said Iran aims to cut the share of oil revenue in the federal budget next year.
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