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Iranian Minister Rules Out Possible Protest Against Subsidy Reform

Source: Mehr News Agency

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has ruled out any major reaction to the implementation of the subsidy reform plan. However, he warned that if anybody seeks to stage protests against the plan he will be dealt with "firmly and legally".

Will the protesters return to the streets when the subsidy reform goes into effect?
Security forces huddled against each other
while their motorcycles burn during one of the post-election protests - Tehran, December 27, 2009

"If few people want to oppose the whole nation and seek to protest, (police) will firmly and legally deal with them," Najjar told the Mehr News Agency on Monday.

The minister said most probably there is no need to take security measures, because the subsidy reform plan is a well-thought-out scheme and people will certainly support it, he noted.

On October 2, police chief Ismail Ahmadi Moqaddam said the opposition plans to foment "economic unrest" after the subsidy reform plan goes into effect.

Later, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Judiciary will take action against those who seek to create instability in the market by hoarding goods and staging strikes after the implementation of the subsidy reform.

"The Judiciary will deal with those who are indifferent to the country's economic situation and are seeking to disturb the public order by hoarding goods and closing markets," Dolatabadi said.

Subsidy reform plan envisages the elimination of the subsidies on fuel, energy, and certain goods over the course of five years. The administration has decided to pay cash subsidies for an undecided period of time to compensate low-income families for the inflationary repercussions of the plan.

The initial stage of the plan began on October 19 as the administration started to pay cash subsidies into the people's accounts.

Experts maintain that the plan will benefit the national economy, but criticize the administration for not properly informing people about the details of the plan and putting into practice only a curtailed version of a long-awaited major economic reform. They have also raised concern over the inflationary effects of the plan on low-income families.

... Payvand News - 11/01/10 ... --

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