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Entries in Subsidy Cuts (19)


The Latest from Iran (23 December): All is Well. Really.

2150 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Doctoral student Ali Arshadi, arrested last December during the Ashura demonstrations, has been freed from Evin Prison.

1440 GMT: An All-is-Well Break. EA staff will be at a party with friends and family today, so updates will be limited. As always, we invite readers to keep us on top of the situation with latest news and analysis.

1335 GMT: All-is-Well Alert (Scientific Edition). The Chancellor of Tehran University, Farhad Rahbar, says that "the growth rate in Iran's scientific research has been 11 times more than the world's average growth rate".

1330 GMT: It's All About Us. Press TV has a distinctive take on the US Congress' passage of the New START treaty with Russia. Ostensibly, the agreement is to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons, but the Iranian state outlet sees a different objective: "to put pressure on Iran over Tehran's nuclear program".

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The Latest from Iran (22 December): Chaining the Balloon

2155 GMT: Sedition Watch. Kurdish defendants in a trial in Tehran have said that they were paid $30 million by British intelligence to carry out terrorist acts and assassinations. The defendants also implicated elements in Iraqi intelligence "opposed to Iran".

2040 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Ali Chenar, writing for Tehran Bureau, offers some vivid first-hand testimony about the effect of the rise in gasoline prices on taxi drivers and on airlines. One cabbie summarises his reaction when the increases were announced: "Right away, I knew I was bankrupt."

1950 GMT: Picture of the Day. Journalist Abdolreza Tajik after he was released tonight on $500,000 bail (hat tip to Mehdi Saharkhiz):

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The Latest from Iran (21 December): Tremors 

2030 GMT: Diplomatic Protest. Twenty leading MPs, including Ahmad Tavakoli, Ali Motahari, and Elyas Naderan, have written to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to protest last week's dismissal of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. The MPs have demanded that Parliament's National Security Commission "address the issue as soon as possible".

1850 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Thomas Erdbrink (see 1840 GMT) also reports that business in department stores had fallen off even though Iranians are celebrating Shab-e Yalda, their festival for the winter solstice.

1840 GMT: The Truckers' Strike. Interesting news from Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post in Tehran....

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The Latest from Iran (19 December): The Subsidy Cuts Begin

2100 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. One price rise that has not been picked up by most of the media....

While the price increase for gasoline is 300% for subsidised rations and 75% for unsubsidised fuel, the rise for diesel is about 2000%, from 16.5 tomans (about $0.15) to 350 tomans (about $3.00) per litre.

1720 GMT: Elections Watch. Legislators have changed the basis for the Parliamentary elections, setting them on the basis of provincial rather than district results. We are not yet sure of the significance of the change and will consult correspondents.

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Iran Analysis: Ahmadinejad Walks a Tightrope to Bring Out His Subsidy Cuts

Ahmadinejad is conscious he was walking on a tightrope. He was continously is trying to convince people, as if he could feel their scepticism. At one point, he reached out by claiming ---- rather sensationally --- that he was a freelance taxi driver, so he fully knows the plight of motorists.

The economic reality is that, whatever the merits in principles of the subsidy cuts, Ahmadinejad's approach has been haphazard and remains so.

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Iran Analysis: Will Ahmadinejad Succeed on Subsidy Cuts?

Ashura is so day-before-yesterday.

On to the next possible big event. Tonight Mahmoud Ahmaidinejad will go on national television to address the Iranian public about his proposed subsidy cuts. 

Later Analysis: Ahmadinejad Walks a Tightrope to Bring Out Subsidy Cuts

On Friday, as we realised that there would be no post-Ashura boom for the regime, three EA correspondents chatted about the current situation.

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The Latest from Iran (18 November): Friends Again?

1750 GMT: No Hypocrisy at All Alert. Shayan Ghajar, writing for insideIRAN, summarised what we have been noting for weeks: "Iran Begins Media Campaign to Highlight West’s “Human Rights Abuses".

Press TV's latest contribution is an on-line poll:

About the human rights situation in the United States, do you think………

A) There is the largest number of human rights violation cases in this country?

B) There is the least number of human rights violation cases in this country?

C) There are as many human rights violation cases in this country as in any other country but the international body should exercise constant supervision over it?

(Current position: A --- 50%; B --- 24%; C --- 26%)

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Iran Snapshot: The Subsidy Cuts and the Middle Class (Erdbrink)

Last year, Tehran's writers, doctors and small-business owners formed the backbone of a grass-roots opposition movement against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now these middle-class urbanites feel they're being singled out by a government plan that will soon cut off state subsidies and boost the prices of a wide array of everyday products.

Members of Iran's middle class are already bearing the brunt of U.S. and European sanctions intended to curtail the country's nuclear weapons program. But in the coming weeks they expect to be hit again, when the cost of gasoline, bread, electricity and other staples are set to increase to market levels, with some prices possibly rising as much as tenfold. While the rural poor will be partly compensated by direct cash handouts from the state, many in Iran's cities will have to fend for themselves.

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Iran's Economy and Politics: Tensions Rise over Subsidy Cuts

This is unlikely to be a headline story in non-Iranian press --- where is the drama in subsidy cuts? --- but it should be.

The Ahmadinejad Government's high-profile plan to reduce subsidies on food, energy, and other goods, softening the blow for those on lower incomes by handing out Government cheques, was supposed to be implemented in September. Then it was supposed to begin in October. Now it is scheduled for November.

Each week, however, features more rumblings on the economic and political fronts. This is a round-up of what only a day brings....

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