People Foiled Ploy to Exploit Fuel Price Hike
EghtesadOnline: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the recent violent unrest following the rise in fuel prices was a "deep, vast and dangerous conspiracy" orchestrated by the enemies, which the Iranian people thwarted with their magnificent demonstrations.
"The enemies had invested a lot on this plot and were awaiting an opportunity to implement it through destruction and murder, and imagined that the gasoline story was their desired chance," he said, addressing a group of Basij volunteer forces in Tehran on Wednesday, Leader.ir reported.
The government announced a gasoline rationing and a price hike of at least 50%.
The price hike sparked protests in various cities by people deeply concerned about the inflationary impact of the plan at a time when they are already under severe pressure as a result of the United States' sanctions, according to Financial Tribune.
The rallies turned violent in some cities and caused casualties among both civilians and security forces, and serious damage to public and private property.
According to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, who spoke on state television on Tuesday, over 50 military bases had been targeted during the violence, while 34 ambulances, 731 banks, 140 government sites, 70 gas stations, nine religious centers, 307 private vehicles, 183 military vehicles and 1,076 private motorbikes had been vandalized and torched.
Rahmani estimated that between 130,000 and 200,000 people had taken part in the riots nationwide.
Over the past few days, Iran has arrested over 100 ringleaders and masterminds of the violent attacks.
On Saturday, pro-government demonstrations began across the country and reached the capital on Monday, where residents gathered at Tehran's Enqelab Square to denounce the violence.
The Leader expressed appreciation for the nation's move, saying it was more important and valuable than the efforts of the police, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Basij forces in dealing with the rioters.
"I show my deepest honor and reverence to the great nation of Iran who once again demonstrated their authority and greatness with this move," he said, adding that the real enemies of the Iranian nation understand the meaning and message of this massive popular movement.
The revenues generated from this plan are set to be used to provide financial support to needy families in the form of allowances.
According to Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of Plan and Budget Organization, about 60 million people out of the total population of over 82 million are set to get extra monthly cash handouts to compensate the rise in fuel prices.
The first round of the aid program started on Nov. 19 in three phases.
The government made two cash payments to 40 million Iranians on that day and Nov. 21, and wrapped up the first round of the financial assistance program on Nov. 23 by paying cash subsidies to the remaining eligible receivers.