World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran's government denied on Monday it would treble the price of gasoline as part of subsidy reforms that have been commended by the IMF but caused anger at home among a population struggling under Western trade sanctions.
In a statement carried by the Fars news agency, the office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said talk of a threefold price increase was "entirely false".
Speaker Ali Larijani had said the government was looking to triple petrol prices and to double the cost of natural gas as part of a further stage of efforts to reduce spending on subsidies while trying to target relief at the poorest Iranians.
In the statement, Ahmadinejad's office said: "Comments published saying the government has decided to sell gasoline at 2,000 toman per litre are entirely false."
That price, equivalent to 20,000 rials, compares to the 7,000 rials - roughly 57 U.S. cents at the official rate - which Iranians now pay for petrol once they use up a 50-litre monthly allowance to purchase fuel at 4,000 rials.
The presidency said: "The government has never sought such figures in any of its programmes and it has and will continue to put all necessary information directly to the people."
The government implemented the first-stage of its Targeted Subsidies Plan towards the end of 2010 in an attempt to wean the country off food and fuel subsidies. On Saturday, a parliamentary committee rejected its plans for the second stage of subsidy reform.
Last year the International Monetary Fund commended the Iranian government for the policy has which it said had led to a reduction in fuel consumption and inflationary pressure.
Yet the reforms coincide with tightening external pressure on Iran's economy caused by harsher sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies early this year.Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Mayıs 2012, 13:59