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Spike in fuel prices intensifies inflation and mass poverty

By Abdollah Pakatchi

Rouhani government finally announced last week, a new increase in gasoline prices.  Don’t get it wrong. It is not one of those countries without natural resources. No, we are talking about oil rich country of Iran. Price increases may have become routine in Iran. For example, the price of electricity, recently, went up by 25%, while there was a rise in prices of cooking gas and other necessities.  Nevertheless the increase in gasoline prices will have a direct effect on all aspects of Iranian people’s lives. Iranians were waiting to see that how much gasoline prices would be increased. It took Rouhani quite some time to publicly announce the new price. He feared that people’s anger would develop into new uprisings. He warned, “People should be careful not to let some jobbers misuse the situation and to dismay the people”

Nobody has welcomed the new prices. Drivers who use the government ration of 60 liters a month now have to pay 7000 Rials for a liter, instead of 4000 Rials that was before. For the rest, the price of gasoline at gas stations went up from 7000 to 10000 Rials a liter. Taking into account that the average use of gasoline in Iran, last year was 67 million liters per day, the new price increase shows that Rouhani government is now making an extra profit of 80,000 billion Rials ($2.3 billion) only from gasoline sale. The regime fearing that this will cause new uprisings has already placed its forces in different cities in a state of alert. In some areas regime has established an undeclared martial law.

On April 24, the American newspaper, Washington Post,commented, “a new increase will test the patience of a public,” as Rouhani‘s promises were to improve the economic conditions. Those hollow promises have, so far, added to Iranian people’s anger. The Iranian people have to live up with the continuous price increase of their basic needs. In this month alone, the prices of goods in many stores have risen by 30 to 40 percent. France International Radio reported the new rate of inflation in Iran as being 32%.

The spike in prices has already triggered some protests. Just the day after Rouhani announced the new prices, taxi drivers in Tehran increased their rents. Drivers of public mini bus services between Ahwaz and Soosangerd in the southern province of Khuzestan gathered in protest against the new rise. They demanded to increase their rates.

Fearing people’s attack to the gas stations, the regime has stationed its suppressive guards in all gas stations in the central city of Zanjan.

In Mashhad, north east of Iran, about 100 people demonstrated against the increase in gasoline prices and clashed with the regime’s suppressive forces. Other reports say that, as a gesture to protest the government’s incapability, many people in the cities of Khorram Abad and Isfahan as well as in Tehran have decided to boycott buying any gasoline for a few days.

This is just the beginning of a new crisis for the Iranian regime. There will be more protests and clashes in the Iranian cities. The Iranian people have to suffer more and more of the high costs of living, while Mullahs are draining Iranian people’s assets into export of terrorism and meddling in other countries, not to mention the extravagant expenses they use on projects of obtaining the nuclear bomb.

Are there any remedies for Iran’s economy? Not as long as this regime is spending massive amounts of money to keep itself in power by fueling its multiple suppressive forces or its terrorists abroad.

The new high prices of gasoline have already entered Iran into a new economic crisis. We will witness more protests and street battles in Iran, while the government will raise more gallows and jails.

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