27th May, 2013
Iran has opened two lines of credit totalling $4 billion to Damascus and expects to open up a third to counter the effects of an international embargo, Syria’s central bank said on Monday.
“Iran continues to support Syria, by opening one line of credit worth a billion dollars to finance the import of different items and another line of credit worth three billion dollars to finance the purchase of petrol and associated products,” central bank governor Adib Mayale said, quoted in the government daily Tishreen.
He said Iran was considering an additional loan totalling another $3 billion to bolster the struggling Syrian economy, which is dealing with the economic impact of a war and international sanctions.
In January, Syrian state news agency SANA said Iran and Syria had signed a deal that would see Tehran extend a billion-dollar line of credit to Damascus.
There have also been multiple unconfirmed reports Tehran is offering Syria loans, as it haemorrhages foreign reserves amid its relentless civil war.
Mayale also said the central bank was taking measures to “defend” the Syrian pound against speculators and ensure sufficient reserves to allow continued imports of materials needed by industry.
The currency has lost three-quarters of its value since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, falling from 50 pounds to the dollars to 150 pounds to the dollar.