Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation Suffers Budget Shortage, Regime Likely to Face Further Challenges in Providing Services to Citizens
Hossein Anvari, Head of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, stated: “This year, our organization cannot afford to pay Nowruz [New Years] money to underprivileged families supported by the foundation. Because the committee is facing a budget shortage and lacks sufficient credit, the existing [financial situation] is not sufficient to support these families. We [already] gave each family $40 [40,000 tomans] for the Fajr [anniversary of the Islamic Revolution].” For the original article in Persian, click here.
The inability of the Islamic Republic’s premier charity organization to provide for Iran’s underprivileged families suggests that, as the country’s economic situation deteriorates, the government likely will face further constraints in providing essential goods and services to its citizens. According to the most recent statistics, by the end of March 2008, 1.5 million people (almost 700,000 families) from rural areas, and 4.5 million people (over one million families) from urban areas were receiving support from the Imam Khomeini Foundation.
While it is considered a charity organization, the Imam Khomeini Foundation relies heavily on government funding and is closely tied to the Office of the Supreme Leader. Prior to the 2009 Persian New Year, or Nowruz, the Imam Khomeini Foundation received $1.4 billion in government credit to distribute to poor families.
The foundation’s lack of funding could also be the result of a drop in donations due to the increasing economic hardship Iranians are facing. Traditionally, as the Persian New Year approaches, private donations increase due to the custom of charity-giving. Prior to last year’s Nowruz, for example, the foundation established 15,000 stations nationwide for monetary and non-monetary donations and received over $200 million in private donations.
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