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World Bank Economist Urges Deep Reforms In Iran

An Iranian gas field at South Pars Washington, 23 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A senior World Bank economist says Iran has so far failed to use surging oil revenues to address deep economic problems.

The bank's chief economist for the Middle East, Mustapha Nabli, told a news conference today that Iran needs a wide range of economic reforms like reducing energy subsidies, which are consuming a big part of oil revenues.

"From trade policy to financial-sector development, to water management to, you name it, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed in Iran and I think, I hope that the new Iranian government will move forward and be more dynamic and more proactive in terms of what is needed for the long run," he said.

Bank analysts say a number of oil-rich Mideast states continue to fall far behind the rest of the world in important governance issues like public accountability. Nabli said Iran is chief among them, and rising state budget revenues have had the effect there of slowing reforms.

(RFE/RL Washington bureau)