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Iran's government, parliament disagree on subsidy bill

Press TV - Iran's president has asked parliamentarians to avert establishing a specific account for the implementation of the bill on subsidy cuts, in an unannounced visit to the Iranian parliament (Majlis).

President Ahmadinejad's call comes as Iranian lawmakers insist that there should be a unique and transparent account, rather than a fund, for the purposes of executing the bill.

There was a brief argument Tuesday morning on the floor of the Majlis as Speaker Ali Larijani, responding to the President's request to speak before the parliament as the government's representative, said, "The government is allowed five minutes to express its views."

Reacting to Larijani's comments, President Ahmadinejad said, "According to the constitution, I, as the president, can speak (here) anytime I desire," reported Parlemannews, a web-based news network that reflect the views of the minority (reformist) faction of the Majlis.

The Majlis speaker then, rejecting the president's request, "clarified that according to the rules, such a request must be submitted to the Majlis in writing and before the discussions on the bill, so that it can be placed in the agenda," the report added.

During the morning session of the Majlis on Tuesday, President Ahmadinejad announced that he does not consider the Majlis amendment to the bill "executable." He then submitted a letter of withdrawal of the bill to the speaker of the Majlis, reported ILNA news agency.

Meanwhile, the head of the special commission tasked with studying the government's economic reform plan said that the government's request to withdraw its draft bill from the floor of the Majlis must first be voted on by the MP's, otherwise its withdrawal is not possible.

The chairman of the Majlis Committee on the Economy, Mesbahi Moghaddam explained that during the negotiations between the Majlis and the Leader's office, the representative of the Leader was convinced of the Parliament's suggestions on the draft bill.

Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad asserted during his speech at the Parliament that in a meeting with the Leader, he had asked for his assistance, "since he cannot possibly put the bill into action with the Majlis amendments to the bill," reported ILNA.

The Majlis voted on Sunday to change a key section of the government's plan to phase out subsidies, saying that all Iranians must receive compensation for higher food and energy prices, not just the low-income families.

According to Iranian newspapers, the government planned to compensate 36 million people, about half the population, for the higher prices stemming from the cuts in subsidies and intended to open bank accounts for them to receive the cash compensations.

Last month the Majlis backed other clauses of the same draft bill, voting to end many subsidies on basic goods.

... Payvand News - 11/03/09 ... --

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