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Iran, Russia and China propping up Syrian economy, says minister

Published: Updated:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is doing its business in Iranian rials, Russian roubles and Chinese renmini, leading the Financial Times on Saturday to state that Iran, Russia and China are supporting Syria’s war-ravaged economy.

Syria’s three main allies are supporting international financial transactions, delivering $500 million a month in oil and extending credit lines, Kadri Jamil, deputy prime minister for the economy, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Jamil added that Syria’s allies would also help mount a “counter-offensive” against what he termed as the foreign plot to sink the Syrian pound.

“It’s not that bad to have behind you the Russians, the Chinese and Iranians,” Jamil told the Financial Times, “those three countries are helping us politically, militarily – and also economically.”

Jamil said Syria had an unlimited credit line with Tehran regarding food and oil-product imports and added that Damascus had corrected its pre-crisis “mistake” of trading in western currencies and had switched transactions to Russian, Chinese and Iranian currencies.

“Now we have a straight line between the Syrian pound and those three currencies, and we have got out of the circle of euros and dollars,” he stated.

Imports of oil products are now costing Syria half a billion dollars a month, added the minister to the Financial Times, while the regime had been further hit by the opposition-occupation of Syria’s oilfields. He described the economic situation as “complicated and very difficult”, but added: “Still we have not reached the point of no return.”