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Ahmadinejad Unveils Annual Budget With No Sanction Worries

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad speaks to parliamentarians before presenting his proposed budget in Tehran on February 1.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has unveiled an ambitious state budget that critics say fails to address the economic pressures posed by a recent wave of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

Speaking to parliament, Ahmadinejad said the $415 billion budget draft was based on a projected rise in tax revenues and would allow for defense spending to more than double.

It also seeks to cut government spending and boost funding for development projects, a move seen as a populist gesture ahead of parliamentary elections next month.

Some Iranian lawmakers have criticized the proposal as failing to consider the impact of international energy sanctions on oil sales, which typically account for more than half of budget revenues.

They also point to 20-percent inflation and a weakening Iranian currency as challenges the president's budget does not address.

Compiled from agency reports