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Iranians Protest Petrol Rationing

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    Iranians riot in reaction to petrol rationing Riots Rock Tehran After Petrol Rationing Implemented Kamin Mohammadi June 27, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2007
      Iranians riot in reaction to petrol rationing

      Riots Rock Tehran After Petrol Rationing Implemented
      Kamin Mohammadi
      June 27, 2007

      Tehran's petrol stations were aflame with protests last night.
      Although petrol rations have been expected for a few months, with
      phase one starting ten days ago with government vehicles, their
      implementation sparked furious riots in which petrol stations were set
      on fire and a supermarket and bank also attacked.

      Iranians were given only two hours' notice of the move that limits
      private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month, hearing an announcement

      on the news. The rationing is due to last four months but may be
      extended to six. The total amount allowed to private vehicles in that
      time is 400 litres. The aim is to reduce Iran's petrol subsidies which
      are colossal.

      Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and it
      imports about 40% of its petrol. The country has a large budget
      deficit largely caused by fuel subsidies. The inflation rate is
      currently estimated at 20-30%.

      How the government handles the inevitable rising anger of its people
      remains to be seen. Iranians are, much like Americans, in love with
      their cars and therefore oil, and as the country with some of the
      largest oil reserves in the world and OPEC's number two oil producer,
      they feel access to cheap petrol is their birthright.

      Most of Iran's modern history, with its multiplicity of revolutions,
      is soaked in oil. This commodity has brought Iran its riches – and
      most of its troubles. Leaders through the ages have attracted support
      by promising to distribute oil wealth fairly, most recently it was an
      election promise of president Ahmadinejad's. Ayatollah Khomeini's
      revolutionary rhetoric included images of oil wells in every back garden.

      But so far the oil wealth has yet to be redistributed, though heavy
      government subsidies have given Iranians petrol so cheap that a litre
      cost less than a bottle of mineral water. But now that Iran feels
      under threat of sanctions and fears for an interruption in its petrol
      imports, the government is reigning in subsidies. Anger and
      frustration have already boiled over, as Iranians accuse the
      government of mishandling the move, with lack of information, adequate
      notice and failure to properly distribute the Smart Cards needed at
      petrol pumps.

      Iran's public transport system is not extensive enough to pick up the
      slack and everyone is left wondering what they will do when they reach
      their petrol limit before the month is up. Perhaps they will all head
      downtown where there is already a reported brisk black market trade in
      Smart Cards...



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