Govt. spox says people entitled to protest

TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (MNA) – Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday that the Islamic Republic of Iran regards the protest as the rights of all people, but protesters differ from agitators.

He made the remarks on Monday at a press conference on the revised gasoline price scheme.

“We are all aware that the energy prices, especially gasoline price, have been one of the main issues that have always raised important and challenging matters in Iran over the past sixty years,” he said.

Stating that there are always many issues to prove the necessity of these price modifications, he mentioned, “the government's move to increase the gasoline prices would be beneficial to the Iranian people, particularly those who are going through economic hardships.”

“In addition, the fight against fuel trafficking will be accomplished by implementing this scheme,” he added.

“It was our pleasure that Leader of the Islamic Revolution supported the decision on revising the fuel’s prices made by the heads of the three branches [legislative, judiciary, administrative],” Rabiei said.

He went on to say, “the Islamic Republic of Iran regards the protest as the rights of all people, but the protesters differ from the agitators.”

“Iran was 80% calmer on Monday in comparison to the previous two days after sporadic protests,” he noted.

He also condemned Mike Pompeo’s remarks on the recent unrest in Iran, saying, “he has issued a message while the US President Donald Trump has taken numerous actions against the Iranian people.”

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

Right after the price hike, President Hassan Rouhani said the government has no intention to receive any portion of the hike despite the economic woes in the country. He added that the government's move to increase the gasoline prices would be beneficial to the Iranian people, particularly those who are going through economic hardships.

According to the made estimations by an Iranian security organization, during the organized unrest in the past two days, following the implantation of the gasoline price amendments scheme, some 100 banks, and 57 shops were set on fire or plundered. The number of disturbers and troublemakers in the unrest stood at 87,400 individuals across Iran, of which 82,200 were men and 5,200 women, a major number of who did not get involved in the core of the unrest and were only witnessing the ongoing events.

MNA/4775095

News Code 152405

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