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AFP
November 17, 2019

One dead as petrol protests spread in Iran

Top Story

AFP
November 17, 2019

TEHRAN: One person was killed and others injured in protests that spread across Iran on Saturday after a surprise decision to impose petrol price hikes and rationing in the country hit by US sanctions.

The death occurred in the central city of Sirjan, where people tried to set fire to a fuel depot but were thwarted by security forces including police, the Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The demonstrations broke out on Friday, hours after it was announced that the price of petrol would be hiked by 50 percent for the first 60 litres and 300 percent for anything above that each month.

“Unfortunately someone was killed,” Sirjan’s acting governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said in the report, adding that the cause of the death and whether “ the individual was shot or not” was still unclear.

It was a “calm gathering” that was exploited by some who “destroyed public property, damaged fuel stations and also wanted to access the oil company’s main fuel depots and set fire to them,” he said.

Besides Sirjan, “scattered” protests were also held on Friday in other cities including Abadan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Birjand, Gachsaran, Khoramshahr, Mahshahr, Mashhad and Shiraz, state news agency IRNA said. But they were mostly limited to blocking traffic and were over by midnight, IRNA reported. Fresh demonstrations were held on Saturday in the cities of Doroud, Garmsar, Gorgan, Ilam, Karaj, Khoramabad, Mehdishahr, Qazvin, Qom, Sanandaj,, Shahroud and Shiraz,IRNA said. Fuel cards were first introduced in 2007 with a view to reforming the subsidies system and curbing large-scale smuggling. President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that currently 75 per cent of Iranians were “under pressure” and the extra revenues from the petrol price hike would go to them, and not the treasury.

The rationing and price hike come at a sensitive time as Iran prepares for a parliamentary election in February.

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