The Iranian government has been denying rumors about an increase in fuel prices, but their actions speak louder.
The government has been recalling government-issued fuel cards from people, a move that tacitly confirms the reports. Meanwhile, many people are concerned that increasing fuel prices could have severe consequences for the ruling theocracy. State television has been speaking about the necessity to increase fuel prices due to the devaluation of Iran’s national currency, the Rial.
The government claims that this has forced an “enormous financial burden on the government,” leaving no choice but to increase fuel prices. The statement read, “The Guardian Council and government have ratified increasing fuel prices to 50,000 rials for rationed gasoline and 750,000 rials for regular fuel.”
On April 4, the regime tested the public’s tolerance by issuing an unsigned statement confirming the increase in fuel prices.
Fearing a public backlash, none of the regime’s governing bodies took responsibility for this statement. Now, state officials are trying to recollect fuel cards under the pretext of combating gasoline smuggling, which they claim amounts to 50 million litters daily.
However, many people are questioning the government’s claims about fuel smuggling. “Obviously, road tankers cannot smuggle 50 million litters of gasoline per day,” a state-run newspaper, Etemad Daily, wrote on April 18. “Even if smugglers use fuel vans or trucks and trailers, which have a small capacity, hundreds of thousands of vehicles should line up at borders daily to smuggle this amount of gasoline. Such a scenario is unfeasible.”
Despite the doubts, the Iranian government desperately needs money to fund its oppressive apparatus and terrorism machine. Ebrahim Raisi’s government has a huge budget deficit of roughly $11 billion, and his budget bill includes a whopping 131% increase for the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the regime’s primary force of oppression.
By increasing fuel prices, the prices of other consumer goods will also skyrocket, putting more pressure on the Iranian people. According to state-run websites, taxi fares will increase by 45% starting April 24, and there will be a simultaneous 23% increase in Tehran’s subway tickets.
Inflation hovers above 50%, the prices are skyrocketing, and over 80% of the population lives under the poverty line. Increasing fuel prices could be the final straw for the Iranian people, who are already deprived of their basic needs due to the country’s financial calamity.
The nightmare of a downfall haunts the clerical regime. Iran’s society is on the verge of another social explosion, and anything could lead to a devastating ending for the regime.
The Iranian government is walking on thin ice as the people have reached a point where they have nothing left to lose, and actions such as increasing fuel prices may only serve to hasten the regime’s downfall.
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