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Iran's war on poverty starts with stopping corruption

If Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were to battle poverty as he said he would, he must address the corruption that resulted from efforts to evade sanctions.
A picture taken on February 3, 2014 shows low-income Iranians lining up to receive food supplies in southern Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faced harsh criticism from conservatives today over what they say is a poorly implemented scheme to distribute food to low-income families in the sanctions-hit Islamic republic. The programme aims to hand out packages of frozen chicken, rice, vegetable oil, cheese and eggs to poor families ahead of Iranian New Year celebrations in mid-March.  AFP PHOTO/ISNA/DA

Tabnak, a news website owned by Expediency Council Secretary and former presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai, has criticized the government for refusing to release the latest poverty data in the country. On Oct. 30, the conservative website questioned the government's policy on the controversial Subsidy Reform Plan, a legacy from the previous administration, arguing that the cash handouts amounting to 45,000 rials ($14), payable to almost every citizen monthly, cover only a minor portion of their costs.

The Statistical Center of Iran released a report last month showing the average expenditure for an urban household is about 10,925,000 rials ($336), much lower than 25 million rials ($780) estimated by independent economists.

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