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Iran: Protestors Torch Gas Stations

Enraged Iranian protesters torched several gas stations in Tehran and other cities on Wednesday, after the Iranian government announced fuel rationing for private vehicles.

There is news item in Ilna [Fa], Iranian Labour news agency, reporting that people were killed in Yasouj, in southwestern Iran, during the protest. Iran is an oil-rich country, but it lacks refining capacity and must import about 40 percent of its gasoline. The protests have occurred mainly because the Iranian government has always subsidized gasoline, which is therefore very inexpensive. As a result, gasoline consumption in Iran is very high, and many depend on their cars to earn a living. According to the BBC, Iran is trying to rein in fuel consumption in anticipation of possible UN sanctions over the country's nuclear programme.

Many bloggers covered the event by publishing photos, video clips and — naturally — their opinions.

Fire, gasoline and videos

Here is one of the films about attacking a gas station that an Iranian citizen published on You Tube.

Sheyda has published several video clips showing angry protesters. The blogger claims to have made these films available for Iranians living abroad, because, due to filtering by the government, Iranians inside the country do not have access to the popular video-sharing site YouTube.

Shervingz has also published several photos of the outcome of government’s decison to ration gasoline: traffic jams, protests and torched gas stations.

The Spirit of Man says that

angry people have blocked the main highway in Tehran and several serious clashes have occurred in gas stations across the capital. The amount of anger among the people is such that police forces have refused to intervene in some parts of the city where roads are blocked and people have shattered the buildings’ windows.

Rooznamehnegarno, a blogger and journalist, says [Fa] that gas stations are being torched in Tehran. He says many people are just watching what is going on and photographing the events.

A disorganized government

Jomhour writes [Fa] that, according to the media reports, 80 protestors, or people who attacked gas stations, were arrested. According to Jomhour, certain conservative deputies in parliament and news sites have claimed these people were terrorists who were paid to destroy gas stations, a claim he calls ridiculous and irratonal. Jomhour says what we are witnessing is in fact a reaction to the government’s irrational decisions and its mismanagement. He adds that government should apologize for all damages that its decision created.

Razehno says [Fa] that, once again, the Iranian government has made an important decision overnight: the government announced the new system regading gasoline rationing and it resulted immediately in traffic jams and the creation of a black market. In Razehno‘s opinion, government’s surprise announcment was responsible for the rush to gas stations and created a lot of unrest among population.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the country's former vice president, says [Fa] that this event proves that, on one side, people lack confidence in the government, and, on the other, that the government is disorganized.

Our money in foreigners’ pockets

Shima says [Fa] that it's likely that one part of a proposition for new sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program was revealed, and imposing sanctions against importing gasoline would be a part of it. The blogger adds that the  Iranian government has spent billions supporting “terrorists” in Iraq, Lebanon or Palestine, but they refuse to spend money to construct a refinery. The blogger wishes Iranians could learn from the Turkish people, who marched against the Islamists instead of burning property that belonged to them.

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