Vow to Triple Cash Handouts Rhetoric

Vow to Triple Cash Handouts Rhetoric

A reformist lawmaker described as populist rhetoric an electoral promise by conservative hopefuls ahead of the next week's presidential vote to multiply cash handouts to people, warning that it is detrimental to the already-struggling economy. "The pledge to triple the regular cash payments is mere rhetoric and harms the national economy," Mahmoud Sadeqi also told IRNA on Wednesday. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), Ebrahim Raeisi, conservative candidates who are challenging incumbent President Hassan Rouhani's bid for reelection, have faulted Rouhani's economic record and vowed to increase cash handouts by two- to three-fold if they win the executive office. The monthly cash subsidy is currently around $12. Under the Subsidy Reform Plan initiated by Rouhani's predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010, subsidies on food and energy were removed and every Iranian was paid 455,000 rials on a monthly basis. Rouhani's administration has retained the plan, albeit reluctantly. Nonetheless, it has moved to restrict the number of cash subsidy recipients, slowly but steadily.

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