Iran Parliament binds Rouhani Govt. to raise employee salaries

Asharq Al-Awsat – Iran’s parliament Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed Sunday the government’s announcement that it would be unable to carry out a decision that binds President Hasan Rouhani’s administration to raise employee salaries during the next Iranian year, which starts on March 21.

The IRIB agency reported Sunday that deputies delivered a warning to the government after Rouhani administration spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced that it was unable to increase salaries in the new year.

The government announcement reflects the pressure it is facing over an increase in inflation and rise in food goods prompted by the US sanctions.

The parliament had on Saturday approved a decision binding the government to pay a raise of IRR4 million (400,000 Iranian Toman) to public sector employees.

During a parliament session to vote on the new budget, Larijani declared that the government does not have the authority to dismiss the legislature’s decision.

“No one has the right to doubt the parliament’s orders, which must be executed,” he stressed.

The parliament approved Sunday the new budget bill submitted by Rouhani.

It showed an increase of 43 percent compared to last year and proposes dispensing USD14 billion instead of selling oil to provide essential goods to Iranians.

Concerns had risen in Iran after the US announced a plan to cut Iran’s oil sales to zero before mid-2019 as part of new sanctions against Tehran.

The Tasnim news agency reported Saturday that deputies are preparing a referendum on four issues: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), allocating a daily gasoline ration for citizens, paying a government aid of IRR2 million for basic goods, and raising salaries to at least around IRR70 million.

The government has been accused of “manipulating the currency prices” to avoid the deficit in the budget.

Economists also noted the discrepancies in positions regarding the FATF and the increased demand on the US dollar over the new year holiday. They also pointed to the people’s drop in confidence in the rial following the continuous fluctuation in currency prices.