Iran has taken further steps to curb spending amid plunging oil prices by removing a further one million well-off citizens from its cash handout subsidy-replacement scheme. Tehran is also mulling the offer of its state assets to foreign investors once sanctions are eased.

Announcing the reduction in the number of cash recipients this week, Labor Minister Ali Rabi’i said the funds made available by the government for the handouts are for those most in need, who are struggling to make ends meet, “not for those capable of leading a decent life.” As of the end of the current Iranian month (22 August), this group of one million will no longer be paid their monthly handouts, joining the ranks of the first million well-off Iranians, and those living abroad, who were previously dropped from the scheme. (CONTINUED - 1102 WORDS)