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Iran increases domestic airfares by up to 70 percent

Iran's official news agency reports local airlines have increased their airfares by up to 70 percent.

The Tuesday report by IRNA says the country's aviation organization ordered the move to compensate for higher fuel prices for airliners by Iran's state-owned fuel company.

It is the biggest increase in local airfares since the early 1990s. Iranian airliners in recent years had occasionally raised the fares by lower amounts, such as 20 to 30 percent.

In May, Iran doubled price of fuel for Iranian airlines, which are mostly state-owned.

The move is seen as part of the country's plan to cut fuel and food subsidies, which began in late 2010 amid sanctions on oil and the banking system by the West, which suspects Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.