Iran raised oil prices and implemented rations, set off a wave of popular protests. In the turmoil, a police and a civilian killed two people. The authorities then arrested dozens of people and conducted network control. The United States today condemned Iran’s use of “lethal weapons” against demonstrators.
US White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: “The United States supports the Iranian people in peaceful protests against a government that should have taken the leadership role.”
“We condemn the use of lethal weapons and large-scale communications controls against demonstrators.”
Agence France-Presse reported that Iran had a limited use of the Internet on the next day in a local demonstration.
● People roaring and detonating conflicts and sending out deaths and injuries
According to the Iranian News Agency (IRNA), a police officer broke out in the western city of Kermanshah and the “Thugs” yesterday, then was shot and killed the next day.
Several demonstrations resulted in several injuries and dozens of people were arrested. Some drivers blocked the highway, and people set fire to destroy public property.
So far, the most serious violence has occurred in the central city of Sirjan, where a civilian was killed and several public facilities such as gas stations were attacked and destroyed.
CNN quoted Iran’s state-run English-language television “Press TV” as saying that Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli warned that if the “destruction of public property” incident continues, the official will dispatch the troops.
● Demonstration fuse
What prompted this wave of demonstrations was that the authorities raised the price of gasoline without warning on the 14th, ranging from 50% to 300%.
The Iranian economy has been hit hard by US sanctions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Iran’s economy to shrink further this year, with gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking by 9.5%. The IMF also predicted that Iran’s inflation rate may rise to 36%, compared with 10% in 2016.
Before Iran raised its oil price on the 14th, the price of oil was fixed at 190,000 Iranian riels per liter (about NT$7.2). According to the new regulations, passenger cars are limited to 60 liters of gasoline per month, and the price per liter of gasoline rises to 15,000 Iranian riyals (about NT$10.8). Above 60 liters, the price per liter of oil comes to 30,000. Iranian Rial (about NT$21.7); taxis, buses and trucks will receive more quotas of petrol.
Iranian officials say it is necessary to raise oil prices to raise funds for a national welfare plan that 18 million families depend on for their livelihood.