Press TV – On Friday, the Iranian government began rationing gasoline and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent in an attempt to contain and manage increasing fuel consumption in the country which is facing a significant drop in income from exports due to US economic sanctions.
Now drivers with fuel cards pay an equivalent of some 12.7 US cents for the first 60 liters of gasoline they buy each month. Each extra liter will be charged at an equivalent of about 25 cents, three times the previous price.
The sudden implementation of the rationing scheme took Iranians by surprise.
Meanwhile protests erupted across the country over the hike in gas prices with many criticizing its timing and the way the scheme was announced. Some also slammed the government’s disregard for the peoples’ economic conditions.
The government, however, says it has plans to limit the effects of the price hike on those with low income. It says the proceeds from the rationing scheme will be used to fund additional subsidies for 18 million families.
On Sunday, the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution also expressed support for the decision.
The Leader noted that some people are concerned about and dismayed at the fuel price increase because it may not be in their interest. However, the leader drew a line between those with genuine concerns and hooligans who try to cause unrest, adding that the enemy seeks to trigger chaos in the country.
The Iranian parliament also held an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the issue in detail while criticizing what some called the sidelining of the parliament by not seeking its permission.
Iranian lawmakers say same as the protesting people; they were caught off guard by Rouhani’s move. The parliament held an emergency meeting today to bury the hatchet and mitigate the negative effects of the hike in fuel prices.
Lawmakers said they will take every measure to prevent the possible domino effect of the fuel price hike on other commodities and services.
Iran provides some of the highly subsidized petrol in the world with pump prices previously standing at less than nine US cents. Still with the new hike, the country’s fuel prices are far less than the world’s average.
Fuel rationing policy in Iran was first introduced in 2007 with the aim of reforming the subsidies system, reducing fuel consumption and curbing large scale fuel smuggling.