The Islamic republic ambassador in London has said that hiking the price of gasoline, which has led to widespread protests shows “the strong bond between the state and the people in Iran”.
The government suddenly announced a big price increase for fuel in the early hours of last Friday, when it was weekend in Iran, but hours later protests engulfed major cities that have continued for four days.
The government has resorted to use of lethal force, killing close to fifty people, according to unofficial reports and arrested more than a thousand protesters.
Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad in a tweet called the move to raise prices “a very courageous decision to reform structure of economy”. The Iranian economic system is a hybrid of strong state control and a private sector, dominated by individuals and groups with strong connections to the political establishment.
Billions of dollars of subsidies are spent not just on fuel but on many other necessities such as electricity and bread. However, sanctions imposed by the United States have emptied government coffers, making it hard to sustain the inefficient economic system.
Protesters are rejecting the price increase and have raised their demands to wholesale political change, rejecting the Islamic Republic system and leadership.