Iran: 50% hike in price and rationing of petrol triggers fresh protests

Protests erupted in Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it was rationing petrol and increasing its price. At least two people have been killed.

Prices rose by at least 50% on Friday as subsidies on petrol were reduced.

Under the new measures, each motorist is allowed to buy 60 litres (13 gallons) of petrol a month at 15,000 rials ($0.13) a litre. Each additional litre then costs 30,000 rials.

Previously, drivers were allowed up to 250 litres at 10,000 rials per litre.

The revenues gained from removing subsidies on petrol will be used for cash payments to low-income households.

Iran is already suffering economically due to stiff sanctions imposed by the US after President Trump decided to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

One person was killed during protests in the central city of Sirjan. There were clashes with police when protesters attacked a fuel storage warehouse and tried to set fire to it.

Several more people were injured.

A protester also died in the city of Behbahan.

In several cities, dozens of angry motorists blocked roads by turning off car engines or abandoning vehicles in traffic.

Iran has some of the world’s cheapest fuel prices due to heavy subsidies and the fall in value of its currency.

It is also one of the world’s largest oil producers, with exports worth billions of dollars each year. But it has limited refining capacity and sanctions have made it difficult to obtain spare parts for oil plants.

Reimposition of US sanctions have led to a sharp downturn in Iran’s economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving away foreign investors and triggering protests.

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