Protests erupt in Iran over fuel price hike

A man at a petrol station in Iran. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Tehran, Iran Nov 16, 2019, 12.04 PM (IST)

Sporadic protests erupted in cities across Iran, state news agency IRNA said on Saturday, a day after the government announced a surprise decision to ration petrol and hike its price.

The demonstrations on Friday night were "severe" in Sirjan in central Iran as "people attacked a fuel storage warehouse in the city and tried to set fire to it," the news agency reported.

But police intervened to prevent them.

IRNA said "scattered" protests also broke out in other cities including Mashhad, Birjand, Ahvaz, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khoramshahr, Mahshahr, Shiraz and Bandar Abbas.

They were mostly limited to blocking traffic and were over by midnight, it added.

Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 per cent on Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts.

The measure was expected to bring in 300 trillion rials ($2.55 billion) per annum, the head of the country's Planning and Budget Organisation, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, said on state television.

About 60 million Iranians in need would get payments ranging from 550,000 rials ($4.68) for couples to slightly more than two million rials ($17.46) for families with five members or more, he added.

Story highlights

Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 per cent on Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts.