By AKhatereh Vatankhah, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
One-third of Iran’s population will no longer receive monthly cash payments from the government. This decision was made by the outgoing parliament, based on a proposal from Ahmad Tavakoli, a conservative lawmaker from Tehran who failed to retain his seat in the Feb. 26 parliamentary elections.
Payments to these individuals will be cut off in the second half of the current Iranian year — between September 2016 and March 2017. The bill was passed despite the disagreement of the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, which must implement it based on the budget law.
Given that Iran’s next presidential election is only a year away, Rouhani and his allies are preparing for the upcoming vote. As such, their reaction to the parliament’s vote has included a lot of “ifs” and “buts.” Yet the law appears to be in line with the administration’s policies in the past few years, which have resulted in over 3 million people no longer receiving monthly cash payments.
Moreover, the administration had proposed to cut the number of subsidy recipients until it reaches a stable figure in balance with budget revenues. Parliament voted for Tavakoli’s proposal after being unsatisfied with the number proposed by the administration.
More than half of incumbent members of parliament are slated to be replaced in the coming weeks. However, before leaving office, they will review two important pieces of legislation: the budget for the current Iranian calendar year (starting March 20) and the sixth Five-Year Development Plan.