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Economy overshadows Iranian elections

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 01:51

Feb. 27 - Facing economic pressure and rampant inflation, the residents Tehran question whether their vote in March Parliamentary elections will have an impact. Nick Rowlands reports.

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Here in the Iranian capital, economic uncertainty and financial hardship are forming the backdrop to the upcoming March 2nd parliamentary election. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) UNNAMED TEHRAN CITIZEN, SAYING: "I think the current economic situation has become a large part of people's daily lives. The elections have lost their colour because of increasing prices, especially over the past two months. I don't think that the elections will be as sensational as the previous rounds." Tightening international economic sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme have led to rampant inflation. This woman says that voting is a national responsibility, especially given the current economic climate. The government says the sanctions are having little effect, but the plummeting value of the Iranian currency is traumatizing the population. Analysts say a high turnout is expected in the elections. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ANALYST DR. MOHAMMAD SHAMASS, SAYING: "In the opinion of Iranians, the main reasons behind the economic problems that exist in Iran's society are the economic sanctions and economic pressures from the U.S. Especially because of this Iranians will go to polling stations and take part in the elections. Because they believe they can respond to the foreign enemies who have done this against Iran." While many blame sanctions for causing price increases in the country, there is also much anger against the government over its economic policies. Penalties against Iran are not new, but the latest round have targeted the country's oil and finance industries. The West claims Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, whereas Tehran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. Nick Rowlands, Reuters

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Economy overshadows Iranian elections

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 01:51