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Syria gets $1 billion credit line from Iran.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has signed a law ratifying a $1 billion credit line from Iran, Syria's state news agency SANA said.

The loan was a further example of Iran's continuing commitment to Syria despite the pressures on Tehran from ongoing sanctions.

Syria signed a previous $3.6 billion credit line with Iran in July 2013 which has been used partly for oil imports and partly for Iranian-made consumer goods, bankers have said.

The new credit line will be used for funding imports of goods and commodities and implementing projects, SANA said, without giving details.

Tehran's financial aid has been pivotal to both the Syrian government and the economy, which has shrunk by more than half in the four years since the civil war erupted, researchers say.

The earlier credit line was used to purchase hundreds of millions of dollars of much-needed Iranian consumer products, from frozen chicken and sugar to electrical goods. They were offered in government-run retail outlets that contributed to stabilizing prices and easing the hardships of ordinary Syrians, businessmen say.

Syria's economy has been hurt by a depletion of foreign reserves that were estimated at $16 billion-$18 billion before the crisis. The country had been earning some $2.5 billion a year from oil exports before the war. Those sales are now non-existent,

The credit line was between two state-owned banks, the Syrian Commercial Bank and Export Development Bank of Iran, it said.

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Title Annotation:Economy: Money and its impact
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Aug 7, 2015
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