Iranian Parliament Backs Bigger Budget

A0280241.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iran’s parliament has approved a bigger budget for 2008-09 totaling the equivalent of $310 billion.President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he aimed to promote social equality when he proposed a budget increase last month of 18 percent for the coming Iranian year.

But the legislature, now dominated by his conservative backers, appeared to have increased spending even further, approving a budget on Sunday totaling 2,902 trillion rials compared with his proposal of 2,745 trillion rials.

Of 197 MPs present in the 290-seat assembly, 159 voted for, and 16 against. The next Iranian year starts on March 20.

Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 on a pledge to share out Iran’s oil wealth more fairly.

About 715 trillion rials of his budget proposal was for the public budget, covering items like wages, subsidies and development projects. The rest covers the budget for state firms and entities.

Oil revenues are Iran’s main source of earnings, and Iran expects to earn about $63 billion in the year to March.

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