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Iran uses $1.25bn from sovereign wealth fund to create jobs: Deputy president

Iranian government has drawn over $1.25 billion from the country’s sovereign wealth fund for the sole purpose of creating jobs as the government struggles to diversify the economy to cope with sanctions imposed by the United States.

According to Press TV, an Iranian deputy president said on Tuesday that the credit had been taken from the National Development Fund (NDF) after the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei approved that the finances could be used for helping job creation programs across the country.

Mohammad Bagher Nobakhat, who also serves as head of the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran (PBO) said “It had been agreed that $1.5 billion be taken from the NDF of which $1.255 billion has already been withdrawn.”

Nobakht said around half of that figure had been earmarked to projects and plans for spurring employment, adding that the government had its own plans for job creation that were funded by the annual budget approved by the parliament.

He said a total of 109,000 plans had already been approved by the PBO and other government departments, adding at least 237,000 new jobs had been created across Iran through the funds drawn from the NDF.

The NDF came under American sanctions in September when Washington accused Iran of a role in attack on oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

Iran has dismissed the allegations while insisting that the NDF, which attracts a huge portion of the income derived from Iran’s oil and gas exports, would remain unaffected by the US sanctions.

Withdrawal of funds from the NDF, which are reserved for major infrastructure and social projects deemed as vital for economic development, should be approved by the Leader as the fund is seen as a source of wealth that should be protected for the future Iranian generations.

The government said over the summer that it had secured one such approval for drawing funds needed for completion of a key railway project southeast of Iran.