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One dead as petrol protests spread in Iran

People protest against increased gas price on a highway in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday.

People protest against increased gas price on a highway in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Demonstrations broke out after govt. announced price hike by 50% for first 60 litres and 300% for above that

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

The death on Friday occurred in the city of Sirjan, where protesters tried to set a fuel depot ablaze but were thwarted by security forces, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Demonstrations broke out hours after it was announced the price of petrol would be increased by 50% for the first 60 litres and 300% for anything above that each month. The country also imposed petrol rationing since Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping needy citizens. The measure was expected to generate 300 trillion rials ($2.55 billion) per annum, the authorities said.

“Unfortunately someone was killed,” Sirjan's acting Governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said, adding it was still unclear if the civilian had been “shot or not”.

“Security forces did not have permission to shoot and were only allowed to fire warning shots... which they did,” he said.

It was a “calm gathering” 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 added.

lame for incidents on a “few disruptors” whose actions showed they opposed the system.

Under the scheme, drivers with fuel cards would pay 15,000 rials (13 U.S. cents) a litre for the first 60 litres of petrol bought each month, with each additional litre costing 30,000 rials.

President Hassan Rouhani said 75% of Iranians were “under pressure” and the extra petrol revenues would go to them.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:25:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/one-dead-as-petrol-protests-spread-in-iran/article29994366.ece

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