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Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi (R) receives presidential chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, in Qom on Aug. 27.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi (R) receives presidential chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, in Qom on Aug. 27.

Top Cleric Calls for Curbing Smuggling, High Bank Rates

The Subsidy Reform Plan has been implemented improperly from the beginning, a major problem likely to breed social and cultural problems

Top Cleric Calls for Curbing Smuggling, High Bank Rates

A senior cleric called on the government to deal with smuggling, high interest rates demanded by banks and the inefficient system of subsidy payment.
"The national economy has been severely hurt by smuggling, high interest rates and the payment of subsidies. If the three problems are effectively addressed, the economy will significantly improve," Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
He made the statement on Saturday in Qom in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani's chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, who was on a visit to the holy city to meet senior clerics.
"An effective campaign against smuggling demands close coordination between the three branches of government," Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi said.
"Even the public should contribute to the campaign. The roots and underlying causes of this phenomenon should be identified and the identity of the groups and individuals involved in creating this problem for the national economy should be disclosed to the public."
On bank interest rates, the cleric lamented that the "binding" policies and decisions of the Central Bank of Iran are not being strictly followed by other banks.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a national initiative in 2010, known as the Subsidy Reform Plan, to remove heavy subsidies on food and energy, and instead pay 450,000 rials (about $13) to almost all Iranians on a monthly basis.
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi said, "This economic plan has been implemented improperly from the beginning, a major problem likely to breed other social and cultural problems."

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