(MENAFN) Iran's oil revenues have fallen to half this year compared with last year, Reuters reported, citing a local newspaper.
Donya-e-Eqtesad has quoted Iran's Economic Minister Shamseddin Hosseini as saying that because of the Western sanctions, revenues collected from the country's oil have dropped by 50 percent.
US and European Union sanctions are designed to slash oil revenues to starve Tehran of funds that might be channeled into expensive nuclear weapons programmes. Iran in turn defends saying its atomic programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
Iranian legislators had previously warned about the country's budget because of the sanctions, and officials have said the government should depend less on oil revenues and more on taxation to fill its coffers.
To make things even more difficult on the Islamic republic, starting February 6, a new US law will prevent Iran from bringing home oil export earnings. US officials say this will "lock up" a substantial amount of Tehran's funds.