Leader Supports Fuel Scheme

Leader Supports Fuel Scheme Leader Supports Fuel Scheme

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday expressed support for the recently announced fuel consumption management plan, stressing that a decision made by the heads of the three branches of government is backed by expert opinion and must be implemented. 
"I am not an expert [on this matter], but when the three heads of power make a decision, I support it," he was quoted as saying by 
He noted that once a directive is approved by the heads of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, it needs to be viewed optimistically.
The fuel scheme was announced at midnight Thursday and involves gasoline rationing and a price hike.
As per the directive, private cars are given 60 liters of subsidized gasoline per month at 15,000 rials (13 cents) which is stored in their fuel cards. The price sees a 50% rise up from 10,000 rials (9 cents). Any additional purchase would cost 30,000 rials (26 cents) per liter with a 200% increase.
The revenues generated from this plan are set to be used to provide financial support for needy families in the form of regular allowances. 
Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of Plan and Budget Organization, had said without providing details that about 60 million people out of the total population of 82 million will get extra monthly cash handouts to compensate the rise in fuel prices.


Nationwide Protests 

The price hike sparked nationwide demonstrations in various cities by people deeply concerned about the inflationary impact of the plan at a time when they are already under severe pressure as a result of the United States' sanctions.  
Protests turned violent in some cities on Saturday and led to clashes between people and the police, in which several people were killed and injured and public property was damaged.
"Certainly, some people are worried or upset about this decision; it is against their interests or they think it is against their interests and they become unhappy for any reason. However, setting a certain bank on fire, it is not what people do, it is what vandals do," the Leader said. 
In such incidents, he added, hooligans, vicious and evil people often enter the scene and sometimes some youths, driven by emotion, accompany them and adopt such corrupt practices. 
"Such deeds do not fix anything other than adding insecurity to the existing problems."
Ayatollah Khamenei described insecurity as the "worst disaster" for a society and what the enemies want for Iran.  
He noted that over the past two days, all "axes of evil" in the world, namely the family of the ousted Pahlavi dynasty and the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (a foreign-based terrorist anti-Iran group) have encouraged such violent acts. 
"No one should help these thugs. No wise and decent man who is interested in his own country and his own comfortable life should help them," he said. 
The Leader, however, instructed the authorities to take sufficient care so as to minimize the adverse impacts of this plan on people and prevent a further hike in the prices of other goods. 
"This is important, because at present the costs of living are high. If the burden increases, this would cause people grave problems," he said, while calling on security officials to perform their duties effectively. 
The Leader hoped that with the help of people and the cooperation of authorities, this plan will be pursued in the most efficient way. 


Parliamentary Support 

The scheme was also discussed in parliament on Sunday morning. 
Spokesman of Majlis Presiding Board Asadollah Abbasi voiced the parliament's support for the fuel rationing scheme. 
"The gasoline rationing plan has been endorsed by the Supreme National Security Council and approved by the heads of power and the Leader, and must be implemented and the Majlis supports it," he was quoted as saying by IRNA. 
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also called for measures to calm the situation, ISNA reported. 
"What is important is that the government pays the additional resources into people's accounts as soon as possible," he said.
At a meeting on Saturday, the heads of three branches had said that the payment of allowance for the current month will begin as of next week.
Larijani also pointed to people's concerns about a hike in commodity prices, calling on the Majlis Economic Commission to hold sessions with other relevant organizations and exercise close monitoring to control the costs. 
"We should all work together to lift any pressure on people and help them," he added. 
The pro-reform “Hope” faction of parliament had prepared two bills to be discussed at Sunday's session. The first involved nullifying the current scheme and gradually increasing the price of gasoline using the country's annual budget. The other proposed the sale of the fuel at a single rate of 15,000 rials (13 cents). 
Both bills were removed from the agenda after the Leader supported the scheme. 
The faction instead called for a session attended by the heads of three branches, Larijani, President Hassan Rouhani and Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi, to discuss the plan and address its shortcomings. 

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