Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Releases Oil Ministry Official After ‘Leak’ About Gasoline Rationing

Long line of cars at a gas station after news agencies said cheap gasoline will be rationed, May 01, 2019.

Reports from Tehran say an Oil Ministry official who was arrested over spreading a rumor about gasoline rationing in Iran has been freed on bail on Sunday May 5.

According to Fars News Agency, Ziba Esmaili, the public relations manager of the Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company was arrested on Saturday for breaking the news that had led people to rush to gas stations Thursday night to tank up.

The Rouhani administration had filed a complaint against Tasnim and Fars news agencies, both affiliated with IRGC, for spreading the rumor about gasoline rationing before it turned out that that the news was leaked through the Oil Ministry.

The report on Sunday afternoon did not mention any name, but Fars and Tasnim had already disclosed Ms. Esmaili's identity as a former Fars news agency reporter who joined the Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company as their Public Relations Manager.

Long lines of cars were formed at gas stations in Tehran and some other cities as people rushed to refill their oil tanks for the last time at a lower price and as much as their tank's capacity allowed.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the publication of that news story, which was later characterized as "fake," was "a dangerous act," adding that "the plan for rationing and increasing the price of gasoline has not been finalized yet."

Administration officials are to discuss the matter at a closed door session at the Iranian Parliament on Monday.

In the meantime, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters on Sunday that more people have been detained for giving the news about rationing to the two news agencies.

Asked about Ms. Esmaili's arrest, Zanganeh said, "I have no idea why she was arrested," adding that "the Ministry is not in a position to question Judiciary decisions."