United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Ahmadinejad Urges Parliament to Cut Reliance on Oil

            On January 16, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Parliament that Iran needs to cut reliance on petrodollars “once and for all.” Iran’s oil revenues have dropped 45 percent in the last nine months, according to parliament’s budget committee chief. Ahmadinejad also admitted that international sanctions have slowed economic growth, disrupted foreign trade and widened the gap between rich and poor.
            The president called for deeper cuts to energy subsidies to solve the budget crisis. But he left before lawmakers could question him further, claiming his schedule was full. Parliament has opposed subsidy cuts in the past, claiming inflation would soar. We are “tired from hearing these empty promises… All of it is repetitive chatter,” member ofparliament Gholamali Jaffarzadeh told Mehr News Agency. The following are excerpts from Ahmadinejad’s speech.

 
Economic Reforms
            “We need to cut reliance on petrodollars in the government's spending budget. We have to finish this once and for all.”
            “We have to change the flow of wealth and capital into the country. Problems will remain as long as this doesn't change ... 25 percent of gross national product is concentrated in Tehran. We need to make sure that the money is invested not just in one city but all over the country.”
            “One of the best development measures to ensure sustainable growth and circumvent the sanctions and neutralize the enemy's pressures has been the targeted subsidies plan.”
            “If this plan is fully implemented, wealth will be fairly distributed, national capital will be preserved, production efficiency will go up, the government's dependency on oil income will be reduced and poverty will be eradicated.”
 
International Sanctions and the Nuclear Issue
            “That is part of the enemies' objectives because price fluctuations and some irregular hikes in prices will impose pressure on a large part of the people who have fixed income.”
            "The nuclear issue and human rights are their excuse for hostility towards us. We have explained the nuclear issues to them several times and there is no more ambiguity in our nuclear issue for the world."
            “Who can claim in the world that he/she has materialized his nation's rights completely? Is human rights their main problem or our progress and might?"
            “They have imposed pressures and continue to pressure us under such excuses."
            “Naturally the sanctions create a series of problems, including a slowdown in the country's growth, pressure on wide swathes of people who have a fixed income, disruption in foreign trade, and certainly a gap between classes.”
 
Cooperation with Parliament
            The legislative and executive branches share a “commitment which is working to safeguard the country's sacred values, serve people and promote principles such as justice, respecting national dignity and removing deprivations."
 
 

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