Iran expands new COVID-19 cash handouts to 10 mln. more people

The Iranian government says new COVID-19 cash handouts will be available to an extra 10 million people as it intensifies efforts to mitigate the economic impacts the coronavirus pandemic.

Iranian president’s deputy for economic affairs Mohammad Nahavandian said on Saturday that the monthly 1-million rial ($4) cash handouts that had originally been targeted at 30 million individuals for a period of four months will expand to include another 10 million people.

Nahavandian said the decision had come after consultations between the government and the parliament.

The Iranian parliament had ratified a motion earlier this month that obliged the government to provide assistance to nearly 60 million people to help them cope with the economic impacts of ongoing government-mandated closures that are meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The administrative government of President Hassan Rouhani had its own economic rescue plan to compensate for losses suffered by people during a third wave of the spread of the disease. However, Rouhani said on Saturday that the government would distribute the cash based on a joint plan between the government and the parliament.

The cash handouts, which mostly target people and households with no fixed salaries and those not covered by insurance schemes, are extra to two fixed payments of nearly $10 disbursed to an average of 50 million households on a monthly basis.

The measures are meant to ease the economic pressure of the pandemic in Iran, where over 1.150 million people have been infected with the virus since it was first spotted in the country in late February.