Iran

    Iran's parliament is poised to vote next week on a government bill that would cut energy and food subsidies and could make the Islamic Republic less vulnerable to sanctions. The measures could also deepen unpopularity for a conservative government that faced riots when it introduced a gasoline rationing scheme in 2007. Iran is the world's fifth-largest crude oil exporter but its refineries cannot produce enough fuel for its home market. Its subsidized gasoline is among the world's cheapest, encouraging rapid demand growth and leaving it dependent on imports. These expose Tehran to international supply chains and make it susceptible to tougher Western sanctions. Cutting subsidies could eat into demand and lower the need for imports. (Reuters)

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