Iran Cuts Gas Subsidies, Hikes Prices By 75%
Iran cut state subsidies on gas Thursday night at midnight, causing fuel prices to shoot up by 75%.
Subsidized gas, of which a certain portion is allotted to each Iranian per month, rose from roughly $0.16 a liter (roughly a quarter gallon) $0.28 a liter. The price of unsubsidized gas similarly rose, from $0.27 to $0.39 a liter, reports BBC.
While Iran experienced riots in 2007 at some gas stations after subsidized fuel was first rationed, no riots were reported in the latest price jump, although Iranians did reportedly flock to gas stations to fill their cars before midnight.
The price of gas remains among the cheapest in the world in Iran, which reportedly has the fourth-largest proven oil reserves in the world, but the price hike will be difficult in a country where a quarter of adults are un- or under-employed.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani implemented the subsidy cut to try and strengthen the economy, which has been hard-hit by Western sanctions over the Islamic regime's nuclear program.
Electricity prices have also gone up by 24% in Iran this year, and water by 20%.
Cutting subsidies while holding "lavish balls"?
Given the austere price hikes, Rouhani came in for sharp criticism on Tuesday from conservative Iranian parliamentarians, who slammed him for having his wife hold a "lavish ball" on Saturday for Women's Day.
"Can one preach austerity and financial sacrifice and yet throw a lavish party on the public coffers?" opined one irked Iranian lawmaker. The party was held in a palace of the deposed Mohammad Reza Shah in Tehran.
Rouhani is engaged in negotiations with the West to try and reduce sanctions in exchange for promises of limits on his nuclear program.