Iran president regrets food ration problems
06 February 2014, 17:55
Tehran - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that he regrets any troubles with the distribution of a food ration to the poor, following reports that three people have died waiting for the goods in sub-zero weather.
Local media have reported that the three died in recent days while standing in line in freezing temperatures. Authorities were quoted as saying that they had pre-existing heart problems.
Most provinces in Iran have experienced unusually low temperatures in recent days.
Rouhani told state TV that he "as the president expresses regret if people have faced trouble in receiving the commodity basket".
The ration for the poor includes eggs, cooking oil, chicken, rice and cheese. The programme was instituted under Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, originally just for government workers.
Rouhani's administration decided to extend it to 17 million people, out of a total population of 76 million. Abolhasan Firoozabadi, deputy labour minister, told the official IRNA news agency that more than 11 million baskets of goods have been distributed so far.