Most military and civil intelligence comes from the published and broadcast media of the country of interest. It is gathering data and making comparisons from alternate sources for the purpose of verification of favorite theories. It can be used to see if there is a deliberate attempt at disinformation and if so an analyst would ask why. Here is a small news release from the Tehran Times about Iran's coming budget for 2007-2008.
There are very basic details but the focus is projecting a 20% increase in spending to $248 billion, based on a reduced revenue stream and assuming a $33 per barrel price of oil. Iran is also projecting an 18% increase in tax revenues. Is Iran implying that it has been running huge surpluses at the current and past prices of oil. Is that true? Or is Iran facing reality of a diminishing cash flow from oil and placing a huge tax burden on their economy? If we look at what is known about the 2006 budget we get a different picture. A Radio Free Europe story from February 22, 2006 headlines this ( I cannot post a link because I am doing this from Central America and their security sees me as a threatening link):
Iran: Budget Row Reflects Deputies' Domestic, Foreign Concerns
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is facing his second crisis in the Iranian parliament. His budget for the Iranian calendar year 1385 (March 2006-March 2007) is being criticized by both right- and left-wing deputies. Much of the criticism is focused on the attention given to religious institutions that fit the president's conservative preferences. Another concern relates to excessive dependence on oil as the only source of revenue -- something that they say could have an inflationary effect. Some also argue that the government is basing its figures on an unreasonably high price for oil. Debates in the parliament suggest that Ahmadinejad's sloganeering and populist approach could meet its match in the realities of running the country.
Introducing The Draft Budget
When Ahmadinejad submitted his draft budget to the legislature on 15 January, he said his governments' priorities are the promotion of "justice, kindness, public service, and national development," the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. The total budget is $217 billion, with $68 billion allocated to the public sector and $149 billion to other state enterprises such as banks and nonprofit organizations. This latter total 27 percent more than in the budget for the previous year and indicates more attention to sectors considered less important by some deputies.
Government spokesman Gholamhussein Elham tried to put a brave face on the impact of sanctions, saying Iran is in a strong position and the nuclear issue will not affect the budget.
Mohammad Ali Hayati, a deputy from Lamerd and Mehr, said the budget has grown but it does not keep up with the needs of the education sector. He added that funds allocated for education have been falling since 2001, and the Education Ministry will have a 33 trillion rial (about $3.67 billion) deficit by the end of the year.
The Management and Planning Organization should explain how it came up with its numbers, Tehran conservative deputy Imad Afruq said, IRNA reported on 24 January. He added that the budget does not conform to the five-year (2005-10) development plan and that there are questions about the budget's compatibility with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's 20-year outlook. The budget reportedly allocates major funding for religious institutions, prompting Afruq -- who heads the legislature's culture committee -- to ask why the budget grew for "certain cultural institutes" when it remained the same for other institutions.
Another member of the culture committee, Jalal Yahyazadeh, was more blunt. "Culture is not just for the Islamic Publicity Organization or the Seminary Publicity Office," he said. "There are other important sectors like theater, and music -- that fit into the category of culture -- and unfortunately their budgets have not been given much attention," "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 22 January.
Excessive Dependence On Oil Revenues
Even before the draft budget was submitted, legislators warned that it depends too much on oil revenues. Adel Azar, who represents Dehloran, Abadanan, and Darreh Shahr, said in early January that 70 percent of the budget is derived from oil sales, whereas in "advanced countries" only 35 percent of the budget comes from natural resources, "Kayhan" reported on 3 January.
Conservative legislator Mohammad Reza Mirtajedini said the budget's dependence on oil revenues increases every year, "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 24 January. In 2002-03 it was $10.5 billion; three times higher in 2005-06 at $34.9 billion; and $36.8 billion for 2006-07. Other legislators and a Central Bank of Iran official feared that dependence on oil revenues will contribute to inflation, and an inflation rate of at least 20 percent is more likely than the projected inflation rate of 13.5 percent.
After the budget was submitted, complaints arose that it is based on an excessively high estimate of $40 per barrel. Hussein Kazempur-Ardabili, who represents Iran at the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said, "oil's share in the budget must be reduced and oil must be priced lower," "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 22 January. Abadan parliamentary representative Mohammad Said Ansari asked how the government would finance a deficit if oil prices fall below the $40 rate.
These expressions of concern appeared to have an impact, and Ahmad Tavakoli, who chairs the legislature's research center, announced on 12 February that the parliamentary Economy Committee has decided to reduce the budget's dependency on oil revenues by 25 percent, Fars News Agency reported on 12 February.
Now look at what they are publishing for the world to see this year:
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad presented his draft of the national budget bill for Iranian calendar year 1386 (starts on March 21) to the parliament on Sunday.
The bill surpassed that of the current year by 19.6 percent.
The president is asking the Majlis to approve a national budget of 2,290 trillion rials (about $248 billion), which is a 19.6 percent rise compared to the current year’s budget, which stands at 1,910 trillion rials.
“We have set the (projected) oil price at $33.70 per barrel for next year’s national budget, whereas the oil price was $44.10 in the current year's budget,” Ahmadinejad told parliament.
"The future cannot be predicted. It is possible that our enemies want to reduce oil prices to hurt us. That is why we have set the price at $33.70 per barrel to show we are ready for anything," AFP quoted him as saying.
"Even if they reduce oil prices, we will be ready to handle it," he added.
According to the government’s projections in the new budget, tax revenues will increase by 18.4 percent and other revenues will rise by 22 percent, with non-oil revenues climbing 18.3 percent, the president noted.
In line with the plan to reduce reliance on oil revenues, the expenditure of foreign exchange reserves from the Oil Stabilization Fund will be reduced from $38.2 billion to $29.5 billion, which is a 38 percent reduction compared to this year’s national budget, Ahmadinejad explained.
Majlis Research Center Director Ahmad Tavakkoli praised the proposed national budget bill, saying that setting the oil price at $33.70 per barrel will further stabilize the budget.
“Even if the price of exported oil slumps to 33 dollars, the budget will face no serious problem,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Banking higher education center director Mohammad Tabibiyan called the National budget bill “realistic” and positive.
However, the budget should be more deflationary, the university professor told the Mehr News Agency on Sunday.
“In light of the fact that oil prices are decreasing in global markets and that Iran’s economy is dependent on oil exports, the budget should adopt more deflationary policies,” he explained.
The government should also decrease the funding allocated to governmental bodies, he added.
Conclusion: It is obvious Iran is worried about both falling oil prices and restraints on its trade. It is increasing taxes by a whopping 18%. The leadership is further concerned about domestic restlessness. This is great news and The United States should not do anything that would increase the price of oil or diminish political pressure on Iran. A military attack on Iran would play into their hands.