Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have a hard time meeting his election pledge of "putting oil money on people''s tables" as crude prices tumble, industrial investment shrinks and spending on imports soars.

Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 on a populist campaign of ploughing huge amounts of cash into local infrastructure and granting low-interest business loans to create jobs.

In the financial year 2007-8 to March, government coffers pocketed more than 80 billion dollars in oil earnings -- half its total revenue and a dramatic 31 percent leap over the year for OPEC''s number two exporter.

Oil prices surged to record highs in July of close to 150 dollars a barrel, a mouth-watering figure for the energy-dependent nation. But the price has since plunged to well below 70 dollars amid fears of a global recession.

"Iran''s oil party is over," "OPEC approaching bankruptcy" and "Alarm tolls for Iran''s economy as OPEC oil price drops," are some of the gloomy headlines in the local press.

Crude income accounts for 80 percent of foreign earnings, making the economy highly vulnerable to oil price shifts, and Iran is calling for a two million barrel per day output cut when OPEC meets on Friday.