DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has downplayed the effect of the coronavirus pandemic to Iran’s economy, saying it has only shrunk by three percent, national media Radio Farda has reported.
Rouhani, who was speaking at a video conference on Monday, said his administration’s “power” had helped the Iranian economy through the crisis, while most countries reported a 20 percent dip in their economies.
Iran’s Economy Mister Farhad Dejpansand earlier said the pandemic had affected 15 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which the International Monetary Fund suggested could be more than $439 billion in 2020.
Rouhani said the government “managed to control the situation” while other economic assessments showed Iran’s nearly 50 percent budget deficit, high unemployment rate, and double-digit inflation.
The Iranian president acknowledged it was not only the pandemic that had affected the country’s economy, but also a drop in oil price in 2014 and the imposition of sanctions in 2018.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also spoke during the conference, reminding Rouhani’s administration of its mandate to “reforming the country's budget, banking, and taxation systems, as well as correcting the flaws in the privatization laws.”