Top reformist MP: Ill-wishers not allowed to meddle in Iran’s affairs

November 18, 2019

TEHRAN – A top reformist lawmaker says Iran would not allow ill-wishers to interfere in its internal affairs, hinting at Washington’s meddlesome remarks in the aftermath of the protests that erupted after the government implemented an unannounced decision to ration gasoline and increase its price. 

“While pursuing and insisting on people’s rights, we will not allow any interference in our internal affairs by ill-wishers, foreigners and the promise-breaking hegemonic government of the U.S. that has disrupted the people’s livelihood through its cruel sanctions,” Mahmoud Sadeqi, an outspoken lawmaker, said in a tweet on Monday.

It came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced his support for Iranian protesters, right after he insisted “continued pressure” on Iran, which includes economic sanctions targeting the Iranian people.

“As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you,” Pompeo said in his Twitter account on Saturday, retweeting a Persian-language tweet he sent out in July 2018 that attacked the Islamic Republic’s policies.

Also, U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted on Sunday that the United States stands “by the people of Iran as they demand accountability and transparency from their government.”

“Iran did not use the billions of dollars in JCPOA sanctions relief to build schools or hospitals, but to fund terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East,” she claimed.

Contrary to the U.S. officials’ remarks, the Iranian government’s decision on Friday to partially cut petrol subsidies was intended to fund support for the poor. Petrol in Iran still remains among the cheapest in the world.

According to a statement published by National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, the price for a liter of regular gasoline was increased to 15,000 rials (nearly 35 cents at the official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each passenger car was set at 60 liters. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported the decision, saying he had previously announced that since he’s not an expert on the issue, he would support any decision made by heads of the three branches of government and experts. 

The Leader voiced sympathy with people who feel the decision would harm them economically, but condemned any act of sabotage that has been carried out by some hooligans and supported by Iran’s enemies.

“You see in the past two days, all the centers of evil in the world have been encouraging such acts against us. From the sinister Pahlavi dynasty to the vicious and criminal gang of Monafeqin (the MEK terrorist group); they are constantly encouraging hooliganism via the internet and other means,” he added.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the Leader’s remarks should end any disagreement among officials about the implementation of the policy.

“However, the administration must fulfil its commitment to the low-income stratum,” ISNA on Monday quoted Boroujerdi as saying.

Following the decision, a number of Iranian cities saw protests that turned violent in some cases, where a number of banks and government buildings were set ablaze by the rioters.

Critics question the timing of the decision, which comes while Iranian people are suffering from the reverberations of the inhumane economic sanctions imposed by the United States, and also while neighboring Iraq and Lebanon have been the scene of widespread protests.

They also criticize the sudden announcement of the measure, describing it as an undemocratic way of making a decision that affects the entire nation.

In his remarks, Boroujerdi was critical of the abrupt implementation of the policy as well, advising the administration to take a lesson from its mistake.

He also voiced sympathy with the affected people, saying they are entitled to protest.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Reza Aref, chairman of the pro-reform Hope faction in the parliament, has urged the parliament speaker to invite President Hassan Rouhani and Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi to the parliament to explain the process of reaching the decision.

“The chairman of the Hope faction has proposed to hold a closed session in the parliament with regard to the issue,” said Fatemeh Saeedi, the spokeswoman for the faction.

The decision to raise the gasoline price was made by heads of the three branches of government, namely Rouhani, Raisi and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

MH/PA

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