AFP: Iran's foreign currency reserves held in foreign banks have risen by almost 40 percent to 52.3 billion dollars due to high oil prices, the press Monday quoted a central bank report as saying. TEHRAN, Oct 16, 2006 (AFP) - Iran's foreign currency reserves held in foreign banks have risen by almost 40 percent to 52.3 billion dollars due to high oil prices, the press Monday quoted a central bank report as saying.

"Iran's assets in foreign banks in late July amounted to 52.3 billion dollars, showing an increase by 38.8 percent compared to the same period last year," the report said.

The considerable rise in the country's assets has been a result of the high price of oil, on whose export revenue Iran is highly dependent as the second largest producer in the OPEC cartel.

According to the central bank, Iran's revenue from oil exports topped 24.79 billion dollars in the first half of the country's calendar year that started March 21.

The announcement of the rise in foreign currency assets comes amid intensifying moves led by the United States to impose UN sanctions on the Islamic republic over its disputed nuclear programme.

In January, some Iranian officials mooted transferring the country's foreign deposits away from European banks as a precautionary move in case the UN Security Council imposed sanctions targeting Iranian assets abroad.

However it was later denied such a move was being considered.

Meanwhile, the foreign debt of the Islamic republic rose to 18.6 billion dollars in late July, a rise of 86.8 percent compared with last year, the report said.

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