Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, February 07, 2014

Government claims that international sanctions have not had effects on their actions seem to be contradicted by some of their actions. Social welfare programs were used to win political support throughout the 20th century. There seems to be no big change for the 21st century. (Does that remind anyone of PRI practices in Mexico?)

Iran Giving Food Away to Millions for Relief
The Iranian government has started handing out food packages for millions of its citizens both to help those with low income and to try to lower inflation on food, local news media reported on Monday.

Across the capital, Tehran, and in the rest of the country, long lines of people waited in government-owned department stores, where the food is being distributed. President Hassan Rouhani has said the handouts are intended to “ease the pressure” on Iranians and demonstrate some of the immediate benefits from the recent interim nuclear agreement with world powers.

All government employees and citizens making less than 5 million rials, or $170, a month are eligible to receive the food package, which contains more than 20 pounds of rice from India, two frozen chickens from Turkey, three dozen eggs, more than two quarts of vegetable oil and two packs of processed cheese.

Over 15 million families will receive the free food, the reformist newspaper Shargh wrote on Monday. Both the rice and most of the chickens have been imported as part of barter trades for oil and gas, said a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals…

Most Iranian governments have handed out food. In 2009, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad handed out bags of free potatoes and discounted chickens during campaign trips in the provinces…

Most Iranians already receive cash each month from the government, to ease the pain that ensued after the government canceled subsidies for energy, food staples and utilities in 2007. Under Mr. Rouhani, those payments are being phased out because of a cash squeeze that officials attribute to international economic sanctions and mismanagement under Mr. Ahmadinejad…

Iran Parliament Backs Rouhani Plan for Subsidy Cuts
Iran's parliament has approved politically sensitive plans to slash subsidies on fuel and food, but delayed implementation for several months while authorities try to soften the blow to consumers by handing out food packages…

The clause [in the budget bill] was passed by members of parliament on Tuesday, Iranian media reported, marking a political victory for President Hassan Rouhani, who took power last August after elections and has vowed to reform Iran's chaotic finances.

Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, began a programme of cutting subsidies but was forced to suspend plans for further reductions in 2012 because of strong opposition in parliament.

Iran's finances have been under heavy pressure because of international economic sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear programme and also, Ahmadinejad's critics say, because of his erratic management…

To soften the blow, the government has started handing out food packages - including two frozen chickens, 36 eggs and two packs of processed cheese - to over 15 million families earning less than five million rials a month, Iranian media reported this week…

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