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Iran Legislators Say Prices Are On the Rise Up To 50% After Gas Price Hike

Snapp online taxi company work at their office in Tehran May 23, 2017. Taxi and transportation fares have jumped after a hike in gasoline prices.

The Speaker of Iranian Parliament (Majles) Ali Larijani says some Iranian government companies have increased the price of their products and other reports say prices have sharply risen across the board.

Following a 200 percent state-imposed rise in the price of gasoline on November 15, the Iranian government had promised not to increase the price of other commodities and to control prices even in the private sector to prevent further pressure on the people.

The rise in the price of gasoline led to a major political upheaval last week that Iranian security officials characterized as "a world war." Close to 150 people were killed and more than 4,000 arrested, with significant economic damage.

Meanwhile, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported on Sunday November 24 that the prices of several commodities have risen as a result of the gas price hike.

The cost of transportation and the price of some items including Iron bars, fruit and vegetable have risen between 25 to 50 percent since November 15, IRNA reported.

Larijani said at an open session of the Majles on Monday that he has received reports about rising prices in the market, and called on executive authorities to control the prices.

He particularly insisted that the government should determine the taxi fares as soon as possible as the cost of transportation affects almost everyone.

Inflation in Iran was already above 40 percent when the gasoline price hike went into effect. The country’s currency has declined fourfold in two years and U.S. sanctions have cut off oil exports, which was the biggest source of hard-currency revenue for the government.

Earlier on Monday, another legislator, Rahim Zare, a member of Parliament's Economic Committee tweeted that the cost of transportation has risen by 30 percent, and the price of liquid gas by 40 percent. He also broke the news about a 20 percent rise in the price of rice and eggs.

Previously, Gholamreza Hassanpour, Chairman of the Market Basij told Mehr news agency that 500,000 Basij militia have been assigned to control the prices in the markets.

Meanwhile, IRNA reported a substantial sudden rise in the price of tomato in various parts of the country after the government increased the price of gasoline.

According to IRNA, most of the rise in the price of commodities during the past 10 days are attributed to the rise in transportation cost. The agency said this explains the unusual rise in the price of fruits and vegetables between 30 to 50 percent.

Referring to the reports of price rise and the government's announcement about preventing further increases, Gholamreza Kateb, member of parliament for Garmsar, said: "Economy does not work based on government orders and economics has its own rules. We cannot force truck drivers to pay three times as much as ten days ago for gasoline and do not increase its fares for transporting commodities."

Another legislator Aziz Akbarian, who chairs the Majles Committee for Industries and Mining, said "A rise in the rate of exchange or the price of gasoline, always leads to higher prices for goods and services. It is impossible to control the market without paying due attention to the country's ongoing situation."

In another development, Iranian Labor news agency (ILNA) quoted Hedayat Baqeri, Chairman of the trade Union for Car Dealers in Shiraz as having said that government officials "constantly talk about inspecting the markets and controlling the prices. But this is all lip service. In practice, people are seeing the instability in the market."

Baqeri said: " They might be able to control the markets for a few days with threats and pressures , but this will not work in the long-run."