Iran has enlisted celebrities, from actors to politicians to athletes, in a campaign to help the government save the ailing economy.
The campaign called “No to Subsidies” is a brainchild of a key adviser to President Hasan Rouhani and encourages Iranians to turn down government cash handouts that replaced energy and food subsidies a few years ago.
This month, the country is implementing the second phase of an ambitious economic reform plan aimed at significantly reducing recipients of the cash payments and further cutting subsidies on energy, utilities and food. The economy has been stretched thin by tough international sanctions and years of mismanagement. Officials and economists say that the government would face a budget deficit of approximately $27.5 billion if it kept up this level of payments.