Iran’s National Audit Office (NAO) has still not received any evidence that the $1 billion reportedly missing from the country’s oil revenue in the 2006-2007 budget has been returned to the Treasury, the Iranian English-language news agency Press TV reported.
The case gained public attention after the speaker of the Iranian parliament and former presidential candidate ‘Ali Larijani responded to a report from NAO, which is the Iranian equivalent to the U.S. Internal Revenues Service.
According to Iranian law, any surplus oil revenue due to increased prices, which Iran enjoyed for the past three years, must be transferred to the Treasury or the foreign exchange.
The incident occurred one year after the sitting President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad assumed office.
Earlier in the year Ahmadi Nejad caused outrage among lawmakers when he fiercely criticized the NAO for releasing the report, saying that it stained the government’s image and incited the public against his administration.
The controversy over the report comes at a critical time in Iranian politics as the country prepares for elections in June.
When Ahmadi Nejad ran for office in 2006, one of his main pledges was to improve the economic situation for ordinary citizens. While Larijani is not running for presidency he is perceived as a supporter of former president Muhammad Khatami, who is expected to be the main candidate against Ahmadi Nejad.
Much of Ahmadi Nejad’s pledge has been fulfilled by increasing the subsidies that Iranians get on products such as food items and gas.
However, due to the falling oil prices the government has been forced to cut back some of these benefits, such as reducing an individual’s gas quota.
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