Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ratified a $1 billion credit line from Iran for funding imports of goods and commodities and implementing projects, the state news agency SANA has said. The credit has been extended by Export Development Bank of Iran under a deal signed with the Syrian Commercial Bank on May 19. According to SANA, President Assad’s signing came after the Syrian parliament’s approval of the deal on Tuesday. It is reportedly the third line of credit since Iran agreed to provide Syria with $3.6 billion in May 2013.
Last month, an Energy Ministry official said Iranian firms were involved in a series of electricity generation projects worth $660 million in Syria. The announcement came during a visit by Syrian Minister of Electricity Imad Khamis to Tehran “to sign a document for the expansion of joint investments in Syria’s power generation projects”. Iran’s joint ventures with Syria include power generation, construction of silos and car manufacturing.
There are also plans for exports of Iranian electricity to Syria which would hook up Iran’s national grid with those of Iraq and Lebanon, creating the biggest power network in the Islamic world. Syria’s economy has been battered under a ferocious conflict being waged by foreign-backed militants. Syrian Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh has also accused Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of waging an economic war on Syria. “These speculators are just like the armed gunmen,” he said in May. Damascus was a major ally of Tehran during eight years of war with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.