Over 100 People Dead in Iran Fuel Protests

It took less than a week to quell Iran.

Last weekend, the country erupted into protests. Peter Smith, a spokesman with Global Catalytic Ministries, explains, “The government of Iran chose to triple the price of fuel. The next morning, people began to riot in the streets.”

Smith says the price hike took people off-guard because “President Rouhani of Iran announced that they had just found a major oil reserve. And so here it is, in the morning, he’s making this big announcement. Then at night, they’re putting on the new price changes for the gas that people have to buy for their vehicle.” The clashes morphed from anger over prices to rage over government corruption.

Iran sent in security forces. When the smoke cleared, over 100 people died, and police arrested or injured more than 3,000 protestors across 100 cities. To keep the stories and photos from getting to the outside world, the government cut off phone and internet service during the worst of the riots. Then came the arrests.

Did protesting help?

By Wednesday last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared victory over foreign enemies in regaining control of the streets. How similar is this situation to that of the “Green Revolution” of 2009? Unfortunately, similar enough in the outcome, notes Smith. “That did not turn into anything that helped the average person on the street.”

Combined with rising inflation, growing unemployment, a slump in the rial, and state corruption, this latest proclamation was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Smith explains, “With U-S sanctions, they already have to pay more for food. For example, like a bag of apples went from like $10 a bag to now it’s almost $250 per bag of apples. Things like meat and rice, which are staples for Persian homes, people can’t afford to buy food like they used to.”

Now layer on the impact of the fuel hike. “Let’s say in your part of the U-S, you pay $2 and 50 cents for a gallon of gas. And now the next morning, it’s $7 and 50 cents a gallon. That’s going to wake you up, and you’re not going to be very pleased with that. Short term, unless you get a pay increase your job, you’re just going to have to pay more for fuel.”  That’s everyday life for Iranians, many of whom are already working two or three jobs.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama