In its budget for the Iranian year 1392 starting on 20 March 2013 Iran projects total expenditure increasing in nominal terms by 29% to IR7,305 trillion from IR5,660 trillion the previous year, it announced on 27 February. But comparison of this year’s budget figures with last year’s is not a simple exercise with high inflation, the collapse of the Iranian currency and the discrepancy between the official exchange rate of $1=IR12,260 and the current free market rate of $1=IR38,000. A report in Tehran Times noted that the budget will be based on the official rate set by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

Surprisingly the budget was not presented to parliament by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as usual, but by the Vice-President for Parliamentary Affairs Lutfallah Forouzadeh. Nor did the speaker of parliament Ali Larijani, who was on a trip to India, attend the budget session. Relations between the heads of the executive and legislative authorities in Iran have been quite poor recently, marred by sharp differences over the governance of the country. This could make the latest budget one of the most controversial ones in the president’s administration. (CONTINUED - 1131 WORDS)