TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is acknowledging publicly for the first time that tumbling oil prices are gouging the country’s fragile economy.
The official IRNA news agency is quoting the increasingly unpopular president as saying Iran will be forced to trim spending and generous subsidies and raise taxes. It’s a sensitive admission for the Iranian president, who is seeking re-election in June.
Oil prices have plunged from $147 a barrel in July to under $50, adding to the pain of Iran’s rising inflation and unemployment.
Wednesday’s report quoted Ahmadinejad as saying the government budget would have to be readjusted to base it on an oil price of around $30 a barrel.