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Iran passes 3-month stop-gap budget as sanctions bite

DUBAI - Iran's parliament has passed a three-month stop-gap budget while it debates President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's full-year spending proposals, delivered nearly 90 days late at a time when economic sanctions have cast doubt over future revenue.
This year will be the third in a row that parliament has been unable to pass a full-year budget in time for the March 21 start of the Iranian calendar and fiscal year. Western sanctions over its disputed nuclear program have cut oil exports by more than half over the past year, sharply reducing Iran's income.
"This short-term budget shows that planning beyond 90 days has become impossible because of sanctions," said Iranian-born economist Mehrdad Emadi of the Betamatrix consultancy in London. "The government faces huge uncertainties."
The temporary "three-twelfths" budget authorizes spending of 450,000 billion rials total for the first quarter of the year, Fars news agency reported. That is roughly equivalent to a single month's spending in rial terms in last year's budget, or $13 billion at the current open market exchange rate.
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