One killed in clashes in Iran over fuel price hike

A man fills up his motorbike’s tank at a petrol station, after fuel price increased in Tehran, Iran November 15, 2019. — Reuters pic
A man fills up his motorbike’s tank at a petrol station, after fuel price increased in Tehran, Iran November 15, 2019. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, Nov 16 — One person was killed in the Iranian city of Sirjan during protests that erupted after President Hassan Rouhani’s government imposed gasoline rationing and price hikes of at least 50 percent, Iranian ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The government announced on Friday that the price of a litre of regular gasoline would increased to 15,000 rials (R0.54) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private car was set at 60 litres. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per litre.

The measure by a top decision-making economic council sparked angered across the country. Iranians have faced economic pressure since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the country.

“One person was killed in Sirjan but ... we are investigating whether he was killed by the security forces who were trying to bring back calm to the city,” ISNA quoted local official Mohammad Mahmoudabadi as saying. He said several people were wounded when masked armed men infiltrated the protests in Sirjan and clashed with security forces. “Security forces were not allowed to shoot at people ... The situation is calm in the city now,” he said.

The state news agency IRNA said during the “severe” protests in Sirjan “people attacked a fuel storage warehouse and tried to set fire to it”.

US$2.55 billion a year for additional subsidies for 18 million families, or about 60 million Iranians on lower-incomes, the government said. Many Iranians are frustrated because of the sharp devaluation of Iran’s rial currency and spikes in the prices of bread, rice and other staples since reimposition of US sanctions on Iran. — Reuters

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