Sunday Apr 15, 201205:07 AM GMT
Second Phase of Subsidy Reform: Concerted efforts of Government and People
Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:19AM
Broadcast Date: 13 April 2012 Watch on YouTube
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On the 18th of December 2010 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the nation in a live broadcast.

He told the Iranian people that as of the next day, Iran's economic overhaul would begin. In other words the long debated and much feared subsidy reform plan was going to be implemented.

Slowly but surely prices would be going up as the government subsidies were removed. Ahmadinejad asked the nation to be patient.

15 months have passed since then, and since then each and every Iranian citizen has received 45 thousand 500 Toman a month from the government - as compensation for the price hikes. That money would buy you 15 kilos of rice, the Iranian staple.

But the compensation is just a shock absorber. It doesn't make up for the increase in the Iranian's cost of living in the past few years. Only a few days before the 20th of March, the Iranian New Year, the government started signaling the beginning of the second phase of the subsidy reform plan.

Up to this point every Iranian whether rich or poor, was getting the 45 thousand a month. As part of the new phase that amount was to increase by 28 thousand, but this time, not for everyone. The rich would be asked to voluntarily forfeit from the extra amount.

Three weeks into the New Year, certain people got a text message informing them that they were among the 10 million that were being asked to do just that. This caused a bit of a stir, especially when some of those who got the texts weren't in the wealthy bracket.

In his last televised interview, the president said he wished they meaning the parliament, would have allowed the government to carry out the second phase of the subsidy reform plan.

But two days before the Iranian New Year's day something strange happened. Some families found an extra 28 thousand Toman had been deposited in their account, but they couldn't withdraw it, because the parliament had not yet given phase two the go ahead.

All eyes were on Ahmadinejad and the parliament. Before the New Year the Questioning of the President, the first in the Islamic Republic's history, highlighted the tiff between the two branches of power, and in view of recent events, it is clear the differences of opinion prevail.
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