Iran tightens internal security prior to subsidy cuts

Thousands of armed police stationed around Teheran to deter any potential resistance to government's five-year food, energy plan.

November 4, 2010 14:11
1 minute read.
Illustrative photo

Iran market shopping. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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The Iranian government is employing heightened internal security measures in advance of food and energy subsidy cuts this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

There are fears of resistance to these cuts, as they will result in rising expenses and inflation for most of the population.

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At a rally on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that any businesses that raise consumer prices in reaction to the cuts would be caught, and that they would "regret it forever."

A police task force has been set up especially to deal with any potential issues and according to the report, several thousand police officers are ready and armed in 2,000 temporary bases around Teheran.

The Iranian governement is planning to eliminate $100 billion in food and energy subsidies each year for the next five years through the cuts. The measures will affect the majority of Iranians, and the goverment will be making cash payments to help ease initial difficulties.

Iran's opposition leader recently said the country's president would be unable to successfully implement a plan to slash the subsidies.

Mir Hossein Mousavi was quoted by a prominent opposition web site as saying that Ahmadinejad's government has sidelined experts who would have been key to enacting the plan aimed at saving the government billions of dollars by bringing prices of key commodities more in line with international norms.

Mousavi also criticized the government for the stationing police and security forces around Teheran ahead of the implementation of the cuts. He said the heavy security presence was intended to intimidate Iranians.

At the same rally, the Iranian president also addressed the nuclear talks, and heavily criticized Russia for reneging on a deal to provide the country with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

AP contributed to this report.

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