One person was killed and others injured in protests that spread on Saturday across Iran after a surprise decision to impose petrol price hikes. Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent on Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts. The death occurred Friday in the central city of Sirjan, where protesters had tried to set a fuel depot ablaze but were thwarted by security forces, semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
The pump price hike is expected to generate 300 trillion rials ($2.55 billion) per annum and help needy citizens, authorities said.
About 60 million Iranians would receive payments ranging from 550,000 rials ($4.68) for couples to slightly more than two million rials ($17.46) for families of five or more.
Under the scheme, drivers with fuel cards would pay 15,000 rials (13 US cents) a litre for the first 60 litres of petrol bought each month, with each additional litre costing 30,000 rials.
Fuel cards were first introduced in 2007 with a view to reforming the subsidies system and curbing large-scale smuggling.
Iran’s economy has been battered since the country has been locked in a standoff with the United States and its Gulf Arab allies since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal that gave it relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees includes President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defence ministry.
Earlier this week, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had detected uranium particles at an undeclared site in Iran. IAEA report says, “The agency detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency. The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched.”
The IAEA added that it was “essential for Iran to continue interactions with the agency to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”