Cleric criticizes Rouhani admin’s negligence in increasing gas price

December 13, 2019 - 18:18

TEHRAN – Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi Kermani on Friday criticized the Rouhani administration for its mismanagement and negligence in implementing the gas price hike policy.

“The administration’s tactlessness in the gasoline issue led to a catastrophe, with bloods spilled and damage done in the country,” Movahedi Kermani told worshipers in Tehran.

The Supreme Economic Coordination Council, which its decisions are approved by the president, parliament speaker and judiciary chief, decided to increase petrol prices after many deliberations, including consultations with economic experts. The petrol subsidy reform plan went into force on November 15. The decision was endorsed by the Leader.

Based on the plan, every car owner is authorized to buy 60 liters of gasoline per month at a price of 1,500 tomans (35 cents). Any amount beyond that is sold at 3,000 tomans. 

The price is based on the official rate of 4,200 tomans per dollar. In the free market, the dollar is currently around 12,000 tomans.

The proceeds from increase in petrol prices are being paid to 60 million citizens, who account for 75 percent of the Iranian population.

Protests erupted in some cities in Iran against increasing gasoline price. In certain cases, the protests turned violent as some rioters attacked security forces with knives and guns.

Rioters damaged public and private property and set banks and state buildings on fire.

The protests lasted just for a few days.

Movahedi Kermani said while increasing the price of gasoline was justified, the way the policy was implemented amounted to complete negligence.

“You decided to increase the price of gasoline, and of course gasoline price should reach its real price but only after thorough calculations, not the way that gentleman said ‘I slept through the night and when I woke up in the morning I realized that the price of gasoline had gone up,’” he said.

The cleric was referring to remarks made by President Hassan Rouhani on November 27, when he said he had asked the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) not to inform him of the timing of the decision’s implementation. Rouhani’s remarks were widely criticized in Iran.

“I hope this is a lie,” Movahedi Kermani said. “This is no small matter.”

The cleric, like many inside Iran, argued that the administration should have convinced the public before implementing the decision and should have implemented the policy in stages.

MH/PA

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