Ahmadinejad to cancel food, fuel subsidies, for transfer to nuclear projects
Iran’s parliament (Majlis) Sunday, Nov. 8, granted president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unlimited control of an estimated $30-50 billion of national treasure under legislation empowering him to cancel government subsidies on food and fuel. He gained majority endorsement for these measures over the objections of the Speaker Ali Larijani, who demanded Majlis oversight of the recycled expenditure.
debkafile‘s Iranian sources report that the president demanded the transfer of subsidy funding to the nation’s nuclear and missile programs, preparations for war and measures to offset international sanctions.
Ahmadinejad’s parliamentary initiative and his overwhelming victory belied suppositions in some Western circles that he was actually in favor of a nuclear accommodation with the world powers but was obstructed by hardline opposition to his purported “pragmatic” policy. His success in ramming the new measures through parliament Sunday proved he was at the peak of his political strength and determined as never before to defy the world. The president was able to make himself dictator of national expenditure and gain control over the wherewithal he sought for pushing ahead with his plans to arm Iran with a nuclear weapon and fund the military preparations for war against the powers who would stand in his way.
With the annual subsidy of $90 billion in government subsidies now at his disposal, the president is in a position to manipulate fuel prices in order to keep Iran standing on its feet under a new round of international sanctions. The radical Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, one of his leading allies, justified the cancellation of subsidies with a sophistic argument: “It is oppression when 30 percent of society that is rich and middle class, receives 70 percent of the subsidies. This must stop,” he said.
When the Islamic regime last tried to cancel subsidies, it was forced to back down by rioting in Iran’s cities. Ahmadinejad proposes to offer the poorer classes the sop of a $17 handout to every low-income household.
debkafile‘s Iranian sources say that this meager pittance will hardly compensate the impoverished majority of the population for losing the basics of subsistence at affordable prices to the grandiose plans managed by the Revolutionary Guards and Ahmadinejad – certainly not for the soaring inflation which the removal of subsidies will generate. But for now on, the people will have no recourse to parliament for help but have to rely on the mercy of President Ahmadinejad.