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18 July 2024

Iran has $8bn oil fund

By Agencies

Iran has $8 billion in its Oil Stabilisation Fund (OSF), which forms part of the country's foreign reserves, the central bank's web site quoted Governor Tahmasb Mazaheri as saying.

Mazaheri said on October 31 Iran had $9.56 billion in the fund, but it was not immediately clear if the two figures were directly comparable. Iranian media also carried his latest comments, saying he was talking to reporters at parliament on Wednesday.

When calculating its holdings based on cash coming in and out of the fund, "the amount of money held in the OSF is $8 billion", Mazaheri said, without specifying if this was a different method in estimating the fund's assets.

The fund was set up several years ago to save windfall oil earnings at times like now when crude prices have surged to record levels, so that the extra cash could be use in times of need if prices tumbled or to finance investment projects.

Some lawmakers have accused the government of the world's fourth largest oil producer of dipping into the fund to finance current spending even now and have complained that the fund's value should have risen faster given climbing revenues.

The central bank previously reported it had $9.469 billion at the close of the last Iranian year, which ended on March 20, 2007.

Iran does not release figures for total foreign reserves.

An Iranian oil official said in October that Iran was aiming to earn about $70 billion in oil export revenues by March, after making about $35 billion in the first half of the year.

The central bank has said it is diversifying its reserves away from U.S. dollars, in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on Iranian financial institutions as part of Washington's bid to pressure Iran over its nuclear ambitions. (Reuters)