Iran’s domestic issues provoked by US sanctions, says Russian diplomat

TASS – Protests in Iran caused by a hike in fuel prices are a consequence of US sanctions against Tehran, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during Thursday’s press briefing.

“All this was provoked by absolutely unlawful mass sanctions of the United States of America against this country. Washington’s actions violate basic human rights, as well as Iran’s legal interest in unhindered distribution of food, medicine and all types of necessary products,” she said, commenting on the decision of the Iranian leadership to raise fuel prices.

The spokeswoman also mentioned the statement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the US support of the Iranian nation. “This baffled us, taking into account that everything that leads to unrest or causes the current domestic processes in Iran is a consequence of US actions,” she added.

According to Zakharova, the US demonstrates the position of “absolute hypocrisy” against Iran. “It turns out that on the one hand, the Americans support the Iranian people, at least in words, and on the other hand, they do everything in their power to make the nation suffer and put it in an uncomfortable position,” she explained.

Protests hit a number of cities across Iran after a government regulation was published on November 15 on doubling fuel prices from 15,000 rials ($0.09) to 30,000 rials ($0.2) per liter. A discount price for fuel for those who have quotas also grew 50% (to 15,000 rials). Under the new rules, car owners can buy up to 60 liters of petrol per month at this price, while bikers can purchase 25 liters. Taxi drivers will have a quota of 400 liters.

The protesters clashed with police, setting on fire bank offices and petrol stations. Riots were reported in a hundred of Iranian settlements. On November 16, the Iranian authorities shut off the Internet in the country, allowing access only to certain online services. Washington condemned this decision made by the Iranian government. On November 17, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed words of support to Iranian protesters on Twitter.