Iran Sheilds Poor as Sanctions Bite

from The Wall Street Journal,

Tehran promises handouts to insulate a restive population while prices climb and the economy sags.

As Iran braces for U.S. sanctions that target its financial lifeline—oil sales—it is resorting to a series of extraordinary steps to try to insulate the country’s increasingly restive working class from the likely economic fallout. The Iranian government is moving ahead with plans to provide financial support to 20 million lower-income people, or about a quarter of the population, and extra relief to 11 million of the country’s poorest. As a second round of U.S. sanctions is set to come into effect on Nov. 5, Iran is standing over a precipice. With an unsteady economy, a sharp drop in the value of the currency and the prospect of more economic pain ahead, the cost of living in Iran has soared.

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