Oil rationing, fuel price hike trigger anti-regime protests across Iran
The Iranian regime imposed rationing on gasoline and raised the price of fuel substantially as U.S. sanctions hit the state-controlled economy. The sudden announcement triggered anti-regime protests in several parts of the country, Reuters news agency reported.
Tehran “abruptly raised gasoline prices as much as 300 percent early Friday and imposed a strict rationing system, and within hours protests erupted across the country with angry crowds calling for the ouster of President Hassan Rouhani,” the New York Times confirmed.
The massive fuel price hike and strict rationing comes as President Donald Trump’s administration pushed ahead with the strategy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran. The President pulled the United States out of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran last year, reinstating sweeping economic sanction on the Islamic regime.
With sanctions crippling regime-controlled oil, shipping, and banking sectors, the Iranian economy is expected to shrink by almost 10 percent in the current year, the D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects.
The Associated Press reported the petrol rationing and price hike.
Iran’s state news agency is reporting that authorities have imposed rationing and increased the prices of fuel.
IRNA’s report early Friday said every private car will have a 60-liter monthly quota at about 13 cents per liter, up from 9 cents. Taxis and ambulances have a quota of up to 500 liters at 13 cents. Beyond that, the price is 26 cents per liter.
In 2015, Iran stopped fuel rationing that had been in place since 2007.
The decision came following months of speculations about possible rationing after the U.S. in 2018 reimposed sanctions that sent Iran’s economy into free-fall following Washington withdrawal from 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In the latest round of sanctions, the Trump administration targeted the regime’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his close circle earlier this month. In April, The U.S. Treasury Department designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the regime’s military arm, as a foreign terrorist organization. The IRGC controls key sectors of Iranian economy, including state-owned oil and gas companies.
Reuters reported the impact of U.S. sanction that led to the fuel rationing:
Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran has for years struggled to meet its domestic fuel needs because of a lack of refining capacity and international sanctions that limited the supply of spare parts for plant maintenance.
U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s vital oil industry and other sectors.
A drop in the Iranian currency following the reimposition of sanctions has disrupted Iran’s foreign trade and boosted annual inflation, which the International Monetary Fund forecasts at 35.7% this year and 31% next year.
With sanctions hitting hard, the regime is resorting to desperate measures. Tehran has been behind a series of attacks on foreign oil tankers in international waters, with senior members of the regime threatening to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes. In September, an Iran-sponsored attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields knocked out half of the oil giant’s production, sending shock waves across the global energy markets.
Iran received billions of dollars from the Obama administration for signing the 2015 nuclear deal. The regime has since squandered a large part of that money sponsoring Islamic terrorists in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East. With Obama-era reserves drying up, the regime faces an economic collapse as sanctions imposed by President Trump bite deeper.
While Washington has deterred most of the European and Asian buyers, China and Turkey continue to buy Iranian oil. The European Union, backed by France and Germany, has thrown a life line to the fledgling regime. French President Emmanuel Macron has offered $15 billion in credit to Tehran “guaranteed” by the regime’s oil revenues. Germany is committed to the EU-Iran trade mechanism, or INSTEX, a payment system which enables the bypassing of the U.S. sanctions by purportedly hiding the incriminating money trail.
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