Protests in Iran Over Fuel Price Hike

Protestors block roads in Iran's capital, Tehran, Saturday, November 16, after fuel prices went up by at least 50%.

President Hassan Rouhani's government imposed gasoline rationing and price hikes from about 8 cents to 13 cents per liter.

The measure to raise gasoline prices as Iran's economy worsens under U.S. sanctions and domestic corruption has angered many Iranians, prompting protests in at least five cities.

Iranian state TV quoted Vice President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht as saying the higher gas price and new quota system were intended to raise funds for the government to provide cash handouts to about 60 million underprivileged people accounting for around three-quarters of the population. He said the payments would begin in the next week to 10 days.

Even after the reduction in subsidies, gas prices in Iran remain among the cheapest in the world, a phenomenon that has led to high consumption and rampant fuel smuggling to neighboring countries.

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