Published on CoDIR, Jane Green, January 29, 2011.
The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in December slashed subsidies on food, water, electricity and fuel. They say the subsidies have been too expensive costing them around $100bn annually. Petrol prices will rise from 10 cents per litre to 70 cents. Electricity prices will jump from around $5 per month to $20. The cost of natural gas will rise from around $30 per month to $150.
The cutbacks have been described as the “biggest surgery” to the nation’s economy in 50 years. The cuts come as the Iranian economy continues to strain under international sanctions imposed earlier this year by the UN, the US and the EU over Iran’s its nuclear programme … //
… The combined austerity measures and clampdown upon activists across Iran are no coincidence. The unpopularity of the government has not been in question since the stolen election of June 2009 and it is clear that the leaders of the Islamic Republic are prepared to take no chances as they bow to the pressures of the IMF and World Bank to tighten up on the limited social programmes available to ordinary Iranians.
As the winds of change blow across the Middle East from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen it will be interesting to see if the flame of resistance is reignited on the streets of Iran as the current cuts bite. Having shown the way in taking to the streets following the 2009 election the people of Iran may yet feel inspired by events elsewhere to once again put pressure upon their leaders. As the cuts deepen and the economic prospects darken, they may have little to lose. (full text).
(Jane Green is a National Officer of Iran Solidarity Campaign, Committee for Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR). For further information on Iran and CoDIR’s activities please visit our website or write us).