The Iranian Parliament’s budget integration commission announced early Sunday that government aid to 51 non-governmental organizations would be scrapped in the new budget, but during the afternoon session, the funding was restored.
IRNA reports that parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani urged MPs to vote for the reinstatement of this aid, saying: “This is for Islam; please participate in the voting.”
One of the institutions that was poised to lose its tens of billions of rials in government aid was the Sadra Islamic Foundation, which is run by Mohammad Khamenei, the elder brother of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Other groups receiving similar funding include the Islamic Propagation Organization, the Leader’s Haj and Pilgrimage Mission and the board of the Islamic Warriors.
Ahmad Bakhshayesh, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, had said on January 28 that government funding for such institutions had to be scrapped because there was no justification for the exorbitant amounts they receive.
However, on February 9, Nasrollah Pejmanfar, a member of Parliament’s Cultural Commission proposed the reinstatement of the funding, saying: “These organizations provide for the needs of the regime at the lowest possible cost.”
He stressed that Parliament could address the Supreme Leader’s concerns about cultural issues by supporting these organizations.
The parliamentary speaker supported Pejmanfar’s proposal, saying the government has neglected cultural issues and there should have been a greater budget for these concerns.