Iran’s welfare system, funded by a Charlie Chaplin pen?

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Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that his beleaguered country will battle through internationally imposed sanctions, but is the economy beginning to bite?

The president is using a Mont Blanc pen, which commemorates the life of Charlie Chaplin, to fund homes for the country’s war veterans and single mothers.

Ahmadinejad sold his collection of official gifts from the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan, in a charity auction held on Wednesday, reported the Telegraph on Thursday.

The platinum fountain pen, which just could be the answer to Iran’s economic woes, is one of only 88 such diamond encrusted pens that were manufactured in the 1930’s to coincide with the release of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times film.

Dozens of luxury brand watches and pieces of extravagant gem-encrusted jewelry were also sold in what appeared to be a bid to cement Ahmadinejad’s reputation as a man of the people.

A diamond necklace from the President of Pakistan and a rare Islamic ring from the Emir of Qatar round off the collection of goods which would not have looked out of place in Ali Baba’s cave.

Officials said the auction raised $ 298,684, including the $104,541 price of the pen.

The Head of Iran’s Welfare Organization, Hussein Badakhshan, said: “The (funds) earned through this interesting auction will go to the building of 100 home units for the war veterans and their families, as well as disadvantaged single mothers and widows, by means of providing them with very low mortgage rates.”