Officials should apologize for recent problems, cleric suggests

November 29, 2019 - 18:55

TEHRAN – Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari, an interim Friday prayer leader in Tehran, says the officials should apologize to people for the recent problems caused by an increase in gasoline prices.

Addressing worshipers, Haj Ali Akbari said in order to reduce the tension, the officials should gain the trust of the people, speak with them, apologize to them and alleviate their concerns, Mehr reported.

He criticized the government’s approach in implementing the gasoline rationing and price hikes, saying as a result of the improper implementation of the plan, foreign-backed elements took advantage of people’s peaceful protests.

The cleric also warned that the enemies seek to abuse the people’s legitimate demands, as they have done so in other countries, to create unrest and riots in the country.

He added that the enemies, including the United States, tried to interfere in the country under the guise of the people’s protests after failing to directly confront the Islamic Republic on the international stage.

Protests erupted in Iran on November 15 after the government announced an increase in the price of gasoline, a subsidized commodity that is still cheaper in Iran than other countries in the world.

The proceeds from price increase is paid in form of cash subsidies to 60 million Iranians, who account for about 75 percent of the population.

The rationed gasoline, which is 60 liters per month, is priced 1500 tomans (35 cents) and any amount beyond that is 3000 tomans (70 cents).

The calculation is based on the official rate of 4200 tomans per dollar. However, the value of dollar, due to the U.S. president’s strategy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, is almost 2.5 times higher in the free market.

Rioters damaged public and private property and put banks, gas stations, and state buildings on fire.

To control the situation, Iran blocked access to the internet for days. However, most of the country’s internet access has been restored.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Tuesday that 731 banks and 70 gas stations were set ablaze or damaged during the recent unrest in the country.

“The rioters torched 731 banks to create problems,” Rahmani Fazli said. “Also, they damaged and/or torched 140 public places, 70 gas stations and 9 religious centers and burned 307 automobiles and 1076 motorcycles.”

MH/

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