Iran’s Economy and Finance Minister has said the coronavirus pandemic has cost his country a 15 percent drop in Gross Domestic Product and even if there were no American sanctions, it would not be possible to compensate for the loss.
The minister, Farhad Dezhpasand told parliament on Sunday that Iran has to live without an oil income in current conditions and must fall back on tax income to finance its budget. However, the country is already experiencing a deep recession with substantially reduced tax revenues.
The International Monetary Fund has estimated a $439 billion GDP for Iran this year and a 15 percent loss will amount to $66 billion.
As the coronavirus epidemic was officially announced in mid-February in Iran, the government hesitated in imposing preventive restrictions, concerned with their economic impact. As a result, the pandemic continues for the fourth month with around 3,000 new cases daily. More than 8,000 have died and close to 180,000 have been infected according to official numbers. Various state and non-state sources have said the government's figures are simply too low.
Iran has been hit hard by U.S. economic sanctions since mid-2018. Its oil income this year is expected to be just $9 billion while in 2018 it earned $62 billion.
The local currency has fallen more than five-fold in two years and inflation hovers around 40 percent, especially for food and other essential goods. The country has experienced bouts of widespread protests in recent years.