Iran's rainy day leaves them dipping into emergency piggy-bank
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi
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"This year (2012-2013) we are planning to use $14 billion for the development of the oil and gas industry from the stabilization fund alone," he told RIA Novosti's Mikhail Gusev, his first interview with a foreign news agency.
The National Development Fund (National Stabilization Fund) was established to protect the national economy and reduce Iran's dependence on oil, Qassemi said.
"Every year 20 percent of the country's GDP goes to the stabilization fund," he said.
Iran also has other foreign exchange reserves both at home and abroad, he added.
"So there will be no particular difficulties this year with financing the country's oil and gas industry," he said.
As of 2010, Iran's stabilization fund was $40 billion.
According to the Iranian Oil Ministry, the Islamic Republic currently produces 4 million barrels of crude per day, half of which is exported.
The United States, Israel and a number of Western European countries suspect Iran of running a nuclear weapons program under the guise of a civil nuclear project. Iran denies this and maintains its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful. Iran is the subject to a raft of sanctions by the US and the European Union.
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