18 Jan '11, 1am

#IranElection - Iran pushes #subsidy #cuts in sign of political strength

TEHRAN - After months of false starts, dire warnings and political wrangling, Iran has embarked on a sweeping programme of cuts in its costly and inefficient system of subsidies on fuel and other essential goods that has put a strain on state finances and held back economic progress for years. The government's success in overcoming political obstacles to make the cuts and its willingness to risk social upheaval suggest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have consolidated power after the internal fractures that followed his bitterly disputed re-election in 2009 - a development that some analysts believe could influence Iran's position at nuclear talks in Istanbul this month. "The initial success of the subsidy reform will increase the regime's confidence generally," said Mr Cliff Kupchan, a former United States State Department official who is now a director at the Washingto...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110118-0000125/Iran-p...

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