Twelve people killed during protests against fuel price hike in Iran: reports (Updated)

Demonstrations in nearly 40 cities
People stop their cars on a highway to protest against increased gas price in Tehran, November 16, 2019. Reuters

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SULAIMANI — Twelve people were killed on Saturday (Saturday 16) during widespread protests against a sudden gasoline price increase, according to Al Arabiya

Iranians took to the streets in nearly 40 cities across the country, including in Mashhad, Sirjan, Ahvaz, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, Bandar Abbas, Shar-e Quds, Sanandaj, Marivan, Urmia, Tehran, and Kermanshah.

Security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in several instances.

Internet access has also been cut off places including Marivan, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Baneh, Mahabad, and Kermanshah.

Meanwhile, Iran’s public prosecutor said the decision to increase fuel prices was legal, accusing external parties of intervening in the issue.

Videos have begun circulating on social media of the protests, some of which appear to show some violence. Additionally, drivers have been blocking the roadways with their cars in protest.

Iranian state TV said the price of a liter of regular gasoline was increased to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private car was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rial per liter, according to Reuters.

Iranians mainly rely on cars or taxis for access around cities and towns. The government said the cost of using taxis and public transport will not change, according to media reports.

Iranians have faced economic pressure since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the country.

(NRT Digital Media)