Iran parliament approves reduced sanction-hit budget

DUBAI - Iran's parliament on Thursday approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's $462 billion annual budget, the official IRNA news agency reported, a drop in real terms from last year as international sanctions took their toll.
Iran's currency has lost much of its value in recent months due to sanctions designed to curb the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, which the West suspects is a cover for making atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.
The official exchange rate for the 2012/13 budget was set at 12,260 rials to the dollar, while last year's budget was based on 10,500 rials to the dollar.
The 2012/13 budget was approved with 123 votes in favor, 46 against, and 14 abstentions among the 200 members present in parliament, IRNA said.
The value of the rial began to slip in January, after US President Barack Obama imposed fresh sanctions against the country's central bank and speculation rose over a possible military strike against Iran by Israel and the United States.
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