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Rouhani kick-starts the “imaginary” 2020 budget

Iran's officials describe the 2020 budget as "imaginary."
Iran's officials describe the 2020 budget as "imaginary."

Reporting by PMOI/MEK  

Iran, March 20, 2020—The Iranian regime’s president Hassan Rouhani announced the new 2020 budget to all regime organs on Thursday, a day before the Persian new year. This is while many experts, regime officials, and state-run media have criticized the budget for being full of ambiguities, which was the cause of a new crisis in the regime during the previous months.

On December 7, 2019, Rouhani introduced the 2020 budget bill to the parliament. Many questions were raised, in particular about the source of income for 1,988 trillion tomans.

One of the most important uncertainties was the amount of oil sale. Rouhani’s government did not mention the oil sale figures in the 2020 budget, but the experts and state-run media talk about selling a million barrel of oils per day. The important issue is that, due to severe sanctions, in the most optimistic scenario, the regime can sell 100,000-300,000 barrels of oil per day. This contradiction has pushed the state-run media to describe the 2020 budget bill as “imaginary.”

“The 2020 budget is written in illusion and is not based on any reality,” said MP Gholam Ali Jarazadeh Imanabadi December 24, 2019.

The regime’s parliament rejected the budget bill on February 24. But due to the severe crises riddling the regime, Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, overrode the Majlis on March 3, approved the budget bill with a state order and sent it to the Guardian Council for final approval. With Khamenei directly or indirectly all 12 members of the Guardian Council, there was little chance that the parliament oversight body would reject the supreme leader's order.

“The parliament had many shortcomings with respect to the 2020 budget. The Guardian Council has 80 objections to the 2020 budget”, said Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee, the spokesperson for the Guardian Council, on March 18.

Yet on the same day, without mentioning the 80 objections, the Guardian Council approved the 2020 budget bill.

Experts believe, the approval process of the 2020 budget shows the regime’s harsh economic crisis and the end of its strategic reserves. Also, it is not obvious how the regime wants to run the government with a budget whose sources of income are unclear.