Iran’s notorious mullah mafia regime’s president and butcher of Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi has proposed a new budget where he has hugely increased propaganda budget. According to media reports, after weeks of delay, Raisi has finally submitted the details of its budget bill to the rubberstamp parliament for the next fiscal year starting March 21, 2023.
The substantially enlarged draft state budget, which is heavily dependent on tax-payer’s cash, will kickstart a month-long review of the bill before the so-called parliament holds a vote to approve it and turn into a law.
The total budget, including state enterprises, would be worth nearly US$130 billion, indicating an increase of nearly 40 percent in Iranian rial terms compared to that of the current fiscal year. The deadline to submit a budget passed on December 6.
The Iranian mullah regime’s operational budget covering its departments and organizations is set at about US$53 billion. Last year’s budget was around US$40 billion, with a huge deficit and it is unclear how this larger budget can find revenue sources to become reasonably balanced as the country already is facing severe economic crisis because of international sanctions.
“We aim for economic growth … creation of more jobs … and reducing inflation”, Ebrahim Raisi told rubberstamp parliament, noting that the administration tried its best so that the budget is “completely compatible” with the “declared policies” of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
According to some reports by media affiliated with Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the draft budget is based on 1.4 million barrels of oil exports per day, despite US sanctions, an increase from the current reported figure of 800 thousand barrels. This would mean US$40 billion of oil revenues from March 2023-March 2024. However, the official propaganda machine of the Iranian mullah mafia regime – IRNA emphasized that the exact figure of crude exports is confidential and would not be announced due to the sanctions.
The projected oil exports in the budget is the clearest sign of unrealistic revenue estimates that will not materialize unless Iran resolves its differences with the United States over its nuclear program.
Quoting Malek Shariati-Niasar, a lawmaker, media said, the budget could be based on an oil price of US$80 a barrel. The figure is also very optimistic because the Islamic Republic is selling its crude well below global prices and is also competing with Russia to give more discounts to the buyers, especially Chinese small refineries.
Iranian mullah mafia regime being aware of that its oil revenues estimates are not realistic; it has substantially increased tax collection projections. In July 2022, the Supreme Accounting Office released a report covering the period March 21-May 20 2022 showing that except tax revenues, all other major sources of income grossly underperformed.
The government’s revenues from taxes, oil exports, customs duties, etc. totaled about US$3.5 billion in the 60-day period. This was just 37 percent of the projected budget revenues. It is important to note that only 15 percent of the projected oil income was collected.
Meanwhile, the new budget bill has an operational deficit of about US$11 billion, which 58 percent higher than this year.
Increase budget for propaganda
Amid the ongoing antigovernment protests and anticipated imminent collapse of the mullah mafia regime, mullahs have substantially increased the budget of security and propaganda institutions.
The official IRGC budget has grown by 28 percent to reach about US$3 billion. But the secretive organization’s real budget is much higher, through illicit oil sales, its vast domestic and international business activities and other sources, including dealing in narcotics. Estimates in the past mentioned figures close to US$17 billion annually.
The budget of the traditional army has also increased by 36 percent to over US$1.22 billion, and the budget of the police forces will be up 44 percent to reach about US$1.55 billion.
Moreover, the budget of the Intelligence Ministry increased by 52 percent to about US$500 million and the budget of the country’s Prisons Organization increased by 55.5 percent to over US$230 million. The budget of the state broadcaster (IRIB) has increased by 49 percent to reach nearly US$200 million, in addition to its advertising revenues.
The organizations that are tasked with promoting the mullah mafia regime’s propaganda such as the state broadcaster and the seminaries are also set to receive handsome increases. The Islamic Development Organization’s budget will increase by 53 percent and the budget for seminaries is set to grow by 130 percent. The Qom Seminary Service Center will receive about US$150 million; the Supreme Council of Qom Seminaries will receive about US$75 million, and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will receive about US$135 million. The budget for Headquarters For Enjoining Right And Forbidding Evil, tasked with promoting the clerical regime’s interpretation of Islamic laws, will also increase 33 percent.
These figures well surpass the budget of most provinces in Iran, including the education ministry.
On the other hand, the significant increases do not apply to the budget allocated for air pollution reduction plans, which is one of the country’s fundamental problems. The budget is only about US$2 million, which has declined by 10 percent from last year.
Amid galloping inflation and rising joblessness, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that his government is not far behind its promise of creating one million jobs annually, saying that “the unemployment rate has decreased”.
Inflation in Iran has soared to over 50 percent, the highest level in decades. Youth unemployment remains high with over 50 percent of Iranians being pushed below the poverty line, according to reports by Iran’s Statistics Center.