On the night of November 6, the Iran decided to raise the price of gasoline. This decision shocked Iranian drivers, a 50 percent increase in fuel prices while consumption was below 60 liters, and a 300 percent increase in fuel prices while consumption was above 60.
At least two-thirds of Iran’s population lives below the poverty line. The rise in gas prices has generally caused social discontent, but for the two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line it has pushed them to the brink.
Ebraham Razaghi, economist and member of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Tehran, in an interview with Tasnim News Agency on April 11, 2018, said: “The head of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation says about 40 million are below the poverty line, but more accurately there may be about 50 million of Iran’s 80 million population who live below the poverty line.
These are all results of wrong economic policies.” These figures were just before the new crisis and the fall of the Iranian currency.
Rising gas prices was a spark in the powder keg that is Iran, and people came to the streets. Economic slogans quickly became anti-government slogans. Hard and radical slogans calling for the overthrow of the government. In many cities people torched large posters of the regime’s supreme leader. All sections of society, from businessmen to workers, teachers and students, participated in the uprising.
They had a common cause: they questioned the regime in its entirety. Demonstrators stormed the regime’s repressive centers and torched hundreds of banners at police stations and mobilization bases, as well as in Salar, the vehicle of repressive forces. Nearly 200 cities in Iran have revolted against the government.
Statistics released so far by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) illustrate the importance of this uprising and the regime’s brutal crackdown: Some 1,500 people have been killed, 504 of them have been so far identified. 7,000 were wounded and more than 12,000 arrested.
The question is why the Iranian government took such a step while the Iranian society is at the verge of explosion.
Although the United States sanctions on Iran have forced the regime into a total economic isolation, it is wrong to say that the government has reached this point under the influence of mere sanctions. The regime’s institutionalized corruption, systematic plundering of national wealth and funding terrorism abroad is the main reason of Iran’s economic crisis. Yes, sanctions have added to these problems, targeting the Iranian regime’s oil-based government in general, and put the Iranian government in a position that would reasonably not accept the risk of a new explosion in society.
The Iranian government ultimately had no choice but to increase the price of gasoline to cover its expenses. Therefore, the decision was approved by the Supreme Council for Economic Co-ordination by the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Head of the Judiciary, under the leadership of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.
Five days before the gas price hike, police and plainclothes agents were stationed near sensitive buildings and gas stations because the government expected a strong response to its decision, but it had no choice but to confront it.
The Iranian government chose violence and launched a deadly crackdown on protesters, despite being at its weakest point in the past five years. The Iranian people have nothing else to lose and have chosen to revolt. They preferred to rise up against this tyranny and sacrifice their lives instead of going through a slow death due to the regime’s plundering of what they have. For this reason, this uprising is expected to continue with all the ups and downs. It is hardly conceivable that the government can get out of this impasse, therefore the regime will face much harder days.