Iran has offered citizens a monthly 3-4-dollar cash handout to compensate for the elimination of an $8 billion subsidy for food and medicine in its new budget.
The head of the Planning and Budget Organization, Masoud Mirkazemi on Monday told local media that based on family incomes a monthly cash handout of 900,000-120,000 rials will be paid to citizens. In the current free market exchange rate, the sum equals 3-4 US dollars, or one kilogram of red meat per month. Annual inflation hovers around 45 percent.
President Ebrahim Raisi presented his draft budget for the next calendar year that starts on March 21, 2022, on Sunday. The budget is based on over-optimistic oil export estimates and other revenues that on paper have produced a balanced budget. One measure with a crucial impact on impoverished workers is the elimination of cheap government dollars for imports of basic food items, such as wheat and sugar.
Iran struggles with a deep economic crisis triggered by low oil exports due to US sanctions imposed since 2018. Oil revenues finance more than half the government budget in ordinary circumstances.
Tehran has been engaged in indirect nuclear talks with the United States since April that if successful could lift the economic sanctions, but so far there has been no breakthrough.