Budget funds earmarked for culture largely spent on institutions that back the president. The administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using state funds to spread its political and religious ideology and at the same time maintain powerful allies during times of turmoil, critics say.
The authorities have set aside 4.5 billion of the 347 billion US dollar, 2010-11 budget, which took effect on March 21, for cultural matters – but much of it is spent on religious and culturally hardline institutions sympathetic to the administration.
Ever since first becoming president in 2005, Ahmadinejad has made a clear effort to defend religious groups and organisations to a degree previously unknown in the country.
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