Iran’s Guardian Council, the 12-member council made of clergymen whose role it is to ensure that legislation passed by the country’s parliament complies with Islamic Sharia law, has approved a $57-billion budget for the coming financial year, reported the official IRNA news agency. It did so after the government ceded to conservatives’ demands and increased allocations to the council itself and state television.
This was the fourth time parliament had sent the Guardian Council a draft for approval. But the green light came only after arbitration by the Expediency Council, which is a body that settles disputes between the parliament and the Guardian Council.
Following the arbitration procedure, the parliament agreed to increase the state television budget from 220 billion rials ($28 million) to 320 billion rials, and to increase funding for the for the Guardian Council, from 12 billion rials to 12.5 billion. The Expediency Council ruled in favor of parliament, which sought $1.5 billion in foreign "buy-back" loans per year. It also confirmed the parliament’s proposals for financial assistance to religious minorities and smaller political parties.
The new budget is 25 percent larger than the one which preceded it, and most of the increased amount is to be paid by greater revenues from oil. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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