The Central Bank of Iran announced on Sunday that inflation rate stood at 21.5 percent in the last month of the past calendar year (ended on March 19), IRNA news agency reported. This is while an official with the Central Bank of Iran said on March 4 that Iran’s inflation rate will not exceed 21 percent during the remainder of this calendar year. Abolfazl Akrami told Fars news agency that the inflation rate is currently declining. The Subsidy Reform Plan has reduced Iran’s unemployment rate and helped maintain its economic growth this year despite speculation by some analysts of a surge in inflation, finance and economic affairs minister Shamseddin Hosseini said on February 17. The plan, launched in December 2010, allows the Iranian government to gradually slash subsidies on fuel, electricity, and certain goods over the course of five years, with low-income families being compensated with direct cash handouts.