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Sanctions-hit Iran to be richer by millions of dollars

September 03, 2012 17:11 IST

Sanctions-hit Iran government has earned millions of United States dollars by hosting the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit here which was attended by representatives from over 50 countries.According to Iran's own calculations, it would have earned at least $50 million.

Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation official Manouchehr Jahanian had said early last month that Iran's tourism industry will earn $50 million by holding the Summit.

But the entire money is unlikely to go to hotels or venues where the NAM delegates stayed. Rather, it will go into the government coffers.

Unlike usually when governments try to subsidise such large-scale international events, industry and official sources said Iranian establishment issued a strict guideline jacking up rates of everything from hotels to rooms, cabs and even food.

The embassies and diplomatic missions in Tehran did not have the right to choose and book rooms of their choice. Rather, they were given particular hotel names and rates.

If an hotel room cost just $110 dollars per night on a normal day, the rates were jacked up over $400 for the Summit delegates. Not only that, a conference hall at a hotel with a normal price tag of $1,000 per day was jacked up to staggering $10,000 per day, sources said. These halls were normally used as back-end office by some countries for their media.

No only that, even meal rates were raised by four to five times. A normal $15 meal was raised upto $70. "We will get our normal rates, the rest goes to the government," a hotel industry source said.

Even cars could not be hired privately. All vehicles were supposed to be hired from the protocol department. According to officials, the maximum rates for hiring a car in Iran comes to about $100 but the protocol department is said to have charged $500 per car per day.

Various dignitaries came to the event with large delegations. The Indian delegation was led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Over 150 people made up the Indian delegation which included officials and media on board besides the ministry of external affairs' staff and journalists who had flown in earlier for the event held between August 26-31.

Iran has been hit by numerous sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies who have accused Tehran of following a clandestine nuclear weapons programme, a charge denied by it.

The US and its allies say the economic sanctions are to force Iran to a negotiating table.

Snehesh Alex Philip in Teheran
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