The main opposition to the Iranian regime the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that the Iranian 2021-22 budget has finally passed following a month of infighting between the government of President Hassan Rouhani and the Majlis (parliament), but given the major concerns raised by the parliament, how did the bill pass?
What were the big issues of contention on the budget?
Where is the money coming from?
The budget assumed that Iran would be selling 2.3 million barrels of oil with oil revenues accounting for over 50% of the budget costings but it isn’t clear how Iran would reach that level, according to MP Allahverdi Dehghani in February 16.
Iran is currently under international sanctions that prevent it from exporting oil and there is no indication that these will end at all this year, let alone before the new Iranian year begins on March 20.
Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, head of the Budget and Planning Organization, previously tried to defend the government’s financing, quoting “secret reports” before admitting that Iran’s “multi-hundred-billion-dollar [oil] income has been reduced to a few hundred dollars”.
This prompted Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf to ask why the budget is reliant on non-existent oil incomes if even the government admits that it doesn’t exist.
What is the US-Iran currency exchange rate?
The regime artificially set the exchange rate at 42,000 rials to the US dollar in 2018 in an attempt to shore up the economy, but the true free market rate is 260,000 rials per dollar.
This has been used on multiple occasions by regime affiliates to defraud the country, by buying dollars at the government price, selling them at the market price, and pocketing the difference.
One state-run media outlet wrote: “The government is digging its hands in the pocket of the middle and lower classes.”
Neither of these issues was addressed, so how did the bill pass? Well, it turns out that all members of the regime would prefer to line their own pockets than help the people, so the exchange rate will remain the same until August, allowing plenty of time for plunder.
However, given the anger of the Iranian people, this seems like a terrible idea.
The state-run Etemad daily wrote on February 16: “Both faction, whatever they disagree with, agree that people are tired and frustrated with the current situation.”
While the Arman daily wrote: “All problems will open their mouths at one time, and on the day when the tolerance of the majority of the society, the workers, is over and their patience is exhausted, we will not see good results.”
It seems likely that this budget will be the end of the regime.