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Iran’s crises: Gasoline & a powder keg society

Authorities in Iran have plans to ration gasoline & increase the price
Authorities in Iran have plans to ration gasoline & increase the price

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, May 6, 2019 - Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA reported on May 3, numerous Majlis (parliament) members’ expressed opposition to the government’s plan to increase fuel prices in Iran.

“Official statements about the necessity to ration fuel in the [Persian] year 2019-2020 and what some informed sources inside the Oil Ministry have said about this silent move by the government has led to responses by parliament members against the government’s move. This increases the chances of canceling the rationing plan for fuel in the [Persian] year 2019-2020,” the new agency wrote.

“The government should accept the consequences of its abrupt decision,” the news agency quotes Hossein-Ali Haji Deligani, a member of Iran’s Majlis (parliament).

Deligani then refers to the explosive mood of society.

“The decision to increase fuel prices in the current economic climate is alarming,” he warned.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed concerns about the country being a powder keg.

“Considering the popular anger and concern about the price increase of fuel, the government is obliged to consider the possible consequences and societal damages of any decision and its decisions must have social reasons,” he said.

Behrouz Nemati, spokesperson for the Majlis board of directors also expressed major concerns.

“The government shouldn’t risk the dangers of increasing fuel prices. Currently, we shouldn’t impose new difficulties on the people,” Nemati said.

Kouhkan, a member of Majlis from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s faction, says: “The Judiciary needs to prosecute the officials who announced that fuel prices will be increased.”

But, Jalal Mirzaii, member of the Energy Commission in Majlis and a close aid of the Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani’s faction, added his views. “This is a decision collectively made by the heads of the three branches of power. This is one of the few issues where the heads of the three branches have accepted responsibility and made a final decision.”

The latest Friday prayers sermons were also a scene of attacking the government because of fuel prices.

“One can smell treason from expensive fuel amid growing U.S. pressure,” said Ebrahim Hosseini, the Friday prayer imam in the city of Saveh, northern Iran.

Newspapers close to Khamenei’s faction, and even some newspapers close to Rouhani’s own faction criticized the government for the decision to increase the fuel prices.

The Vatan-e Emrouz newspaper described the rationing and price increase of fuel a new hide and seek scenario. “Why did the government back off from its decision about fuel and ran away from accepting the responsibility?”

The Vatan-e Emrouz and Resalat newspapers reported that an official from the Oil Ministry has personally contacted the Fars news agency – affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) - asking it to publish the news about rationing and fuel price increase. However, facing public dissent, Zangeneh accused Fars of lying.

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Rouhani’s Interior Minister, defended the new price increase and issued warnings. “This has always been a subject of discussion. The price that fuel is currently sold for, the amount of fuel consumption with a peak of 110 million liters per day and an average of 90 million liters per day, this isn’t acceptable economically, environmentally and from the standpoint of the peoples’ health.”

Regardless of the internal feud between different factions of the ruling theocracy in Tehran, the fact is that the Iranian regime is terrified of the society’s explosive circumstances. This very fear led to the Rouhani government backing off from its initial decision to ration and increase fuel prices.

It is worth mentioning that back in the days of Ahmadinejad’s government, increasing fuel prices led to popular and violent protests. Considering the current state of the economy, increasing fuel prices could be the last straw that breaks peoples’ backs and erupts in a popular uprising that is already looming large over the Islamic Republic’s reign.