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TEHRAN: Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament on Tuesday rejected a budget bill for the next Iranian year put forward by the administration of the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, state television reported.

The broadcaster said that of the 261 lawmakers present from a total of 290, 148 voted against the bill while 99 were in favour, with the rest abstaining.

It is the latest development in the back and forth between parliament and the Rouhani administration since it presented the bill in early December.

The government will now have a two-week window to amend and return the bill to lawmakers, according to the parliament’s ICANA news agency.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei reacted by saying the administration is willing to modify the bill, but without “changing the overall structure and projecting unrealistic earnings.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Rouhani had warned that any substantial change to the bill would “seriously damage the people’s livelihood”.

MPs have argued that the proposed government budget for the year beginning on March 21 is unrealistic, and could run a deficit and worsen inflation. One of the their main complaints has been the government’s projected oil sales of 1,992 trillion rials ($8.1 billion).

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