Iran faces 'chronic challenges' beyond US sanctions: speaker

Iran is facing "chronic challenges" that existed long before US sanctions were reimposed, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Monday (December 3rd), AFP reported.

"External factors do affect our economy, but there are problems persisting from before," Larijani said at a press conference.

He listed a number of challenges, including "big, costly government", high interest rates that "disrupt production", cash-strapped pension funds and a water crisis.

Parliament's research centre had "repeatedly warned" of these challenges, Larijani said, but the government has yet to respond on key issues.

The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran has added another layer of difficulty.

The International Monetary Fund says the Iranian economy will contract by 1.5% in 2018 and 3.6% in 2019, largely due to reduced oil sales caused by the renewed sanctions.

Violent protests broke out from December 28th last year to January 1st in Iran to protest the dire state of the economy, with many specifically opposing the Iranian regime's use of the country's resources to support its proxies and surrogates such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.

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