DUBAI - Iran said it would seek to cut imports of non-essential goods and urged its citizens to reduce their use of foreign-made mobile telephones and cars, as the country struggles to cope with Western economic sanctions.

The policies suggest the government is moving the economy onto an austerity footing to resist the sanctions, which have been imposed over Iran's controversial nuclear program and have slashed its income from oil exports this year.

Authorities have divided imports into 10 categories based on how essential they are, and will provide importers with dollars at a subsidized rate to buy basic goods, Deputy Industry Minister Hamid Safdel was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Meanwhile, importers of goods in two non-essential categories will have to obtain dollars at much more expensive rates on the open market, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) quoted him as saying.

Goods in these two categories include cigarette papers, wallpaper, mobile phones, luggage, clothing and cars, ISNA reported. It said about $10 to $12 billion was spent annually on importing luxury and non-essential goods into Iran.

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