Learning English - Words in the News
29 June, 2007 - Published 11:03 GMT
Iran petrol rationing
Iranians reacted angrily to the government's decision to introduce petrol rationing at a time when they're already struggling with high unemployment, spiralling inflation and low public sector pay. This report from Pam O'Toole:
In his two years in office, President Ahmadinejad says he's created millions of jobs, increased foreign investment and achieved good economic growth. But a growing number of critics have accused him of using oil wealth to introduce populist economic policies which have served to drive up inflation. Officially, inflation is running at 13 per cent, but economists say in reality it's much higher. Ordinary people complain that rents have doubled, or that they can no longer afford to buy meat.
For some Iranians, the rationing of highly subsidised petrol is clearly a step too far. Iranians have always regarded cheap petrol as a kind of national birthright - particularly given the country's poor public transport system. Over recent years, a number of Iranian administrations have toyed with the idea of raising the price of subsidised petrol, or rationing supply.
The current government says rationing is essential to curb rising consumption and help reduce reliance on expensive petrol imports. But Tehran's also thought to be concerned that those petrol imports could be targeted in future sanctions imposed on it because of its controversial nuclear programme. While many Iranians support the nuclear programme, some economists fear that petrol rationing could stoke further inflation - and that's something ordinary people are anxious to avoid.
Pam O'Toole , BBC
to drive up
a step too far