Protests against raising gasoline prices have killed at least one person in southern Iran. In the city of Sirdschan dozens of demonstrators have tried to set fire to gas stations and oil depots, said a spokesman for the city administration, according to the state news agency Isna. As a result, the police and even Revolutionary Guards would have had to intervene. Several people were injured.
The circumstances of the death are still unclear and are under investigation, said the spokesman. Accordingly, the police should have issued only warning shots. There were wounded on both sides. Whether it came to arrests, he did not say.
There were also sporadic protests against gasoline rationing in other parts of Iran. Police are said to have used tear gas against protesters in some cities. Videos of burning petrol stations were posted on social media. The authorities, however, spoke of misinformation here.
Because of the ongoing economic crisis, the Iranian government had rationed gasoline on the night of Friday while increasing fuel prices. With a national gasoline card, the Iranians can only fill up to 60 liters of gas a month at a liter price of the equivalent of 12 cents. Who wants to refuel more, then per liter then 24 (normal petrol) to 30 cents (Super) pay - almost three times the previous price.
Petrol smuggling and US sanctions are causing problems for Iran
According to President Hassan Rohani, the additional revenue will finance new aid for 60 million people in need. Although gasoline prices in Iran are still extremely low, consumption is correspondingly high. According to the Irna news agency, the average consumption of the country's 80 million people is 90 million liters a day. In addition, an estimated 10 to 20 million liters are smuggled out of the country every day.
Because of the renewed US sanctions in the nuclear dispute, the country has been in an acute economic crisis for months. Particularly affected is the oil export as the main source of income of the country. Exports of the world's fourth largest oil producer have dropped from 2.8 million barrels a day to less than one million. As a result, the national currency Rial is worth only half.
The price of gas is considered the "mother of all inflation" in Iran, because after every price increase everything in the country became more expensive. For some time now, the government of President Hassan Ruhani wanted to increase gasoline prices again, but has repeatedly postponed it for fear of worsening inflation - and nationwide protests. The Iranians can not and do not want to accept that in an oil-rich country, which is also the world's fourth largest oil producer, gasoline is rationed and becomes more and more expensive.