TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s president announced Saturday the start of a plan to slash energy and food subsidies, part of government efforts to boost the country’s ailing economy.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state television that the deep cuts to the subsidies “will start beginning (today),” and vowed to cut all subsidies by the end of his term in 2013.

The cuts come as Iran remains deadlocked with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. The U.N. Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Iran last summer over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, and there are signs those penalties are affecting the nation’s economy.

Still, Iran had planned to slash subsidies before the latest sanctions, and Ahmadinejad and his allies have long insisted the country could no longer afford the largesse. Tehran says it is paying some $100 billion in subsidies. Experts say the amount is about $30 billion.