1. The protests were sparked over dramatic increases in gasoline prices.
Iranians enjoy some of the cheapest gasoline in the world due to heavy subsidies, but the Iranian government suddenly announced at midnight on Thursday (November 14th) that it would increase gasoline prices, and cut individual rations of subsidized gasoline. Effectively, the cost of subsidized gasoline has increased by 50%, and the price of non-subsidized gasoline will become three times more expensive. The decision was made by the “Supreme Council for Economic Coordination of the Three Branches,” which was formed at the behest of Iran’s Supreme Leader.
2. Iranian Members of Parliament were angered by not being consulted on the fuel price hike.
Some Iranian MPs have objected to the price increases, saying they were unaware of the decision before it was announced. Some MPs called for Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to resign, and some called for the impeachment of President Hassan Rouhani. The “Omid” faction of parliament, formed by Reformist MPs, initially requested a debate on the price hikes be added the Parliament’s agenda, but after Ayatollah Khamenei declared his support for raising gas prices, they withdrew their request. A representative from the city of Buchan also resigned in protest of Parliament’s lack of consultation about raising the gasoline prices.
3. Protests have been ongoing since November 16th, and are active in more than 70% of Iranian provinces.
Protests have been held in various cities across the country since Saturday. Following police intervention, the protests quickly turned violent. Iran’s Constitution recognizes the freedom of assembly but the government generally refuses to allow the opposition to practice this right.
While previous political protests have taken place primarily in central metropolises, this time around border provinces and small cities have been involved. Protests have been confirmed in Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Shariar, Eslamshahr, Kermanshah, Baharestan, Karaj, Sirjan, Marivan, Behbahan, and other cities. Indeed, the governor of Tehran reported protests in more than 70% of Iranian provinces.
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