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Khamenei Told Iran Parliament Not To Oppose Gasoline Price Hike - Lawmaker

Mahmoud Sadeqi, on the floor of the Iranian parliament, Majles. File photo

An outspoken lawmaker in Iran says two days after the gasoline price hike of November 15 that led to bloody protests, the country’s Supreme Leader intervened to stop parliament from opposing the controversial move.

In a "note" to Iran’s Parliament (Majles) Speaker Ali Larijani, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dissuaded deputies from opposing the price hike, Mahmoud Sadeqi, a reformist lawmaker wrote in a Telegram post on November 23.

"Two days after the implementation of the plan to increase the price of gasoline and after extensive protests had broken out throughout the country the representatives of the Majles proposed motions to abandon the plan or modify it. On November 17, the Supreme Leader expressly announced his support for the plan and in a note to the Majles Speaker dissuaded the lawmakers from opposing it," the Telegram post said.

Sadeqi who is the chairman of the "Transparency and Economic Discipline" of the Majles says some Iranian officials believe Khamenei had "no role" in the decision, which was taken by the heads of the three branches of the government but supported it to calm the situation. However, others believe that Khamenei had several times asked the president to take steps towards revising energy prices and management of energy consumption, so the decision was "to meet his wish", Sadeqi says.

In his first reaction to the protests that broke out in more than 100 Iranian cities and towns after the announcement of the increase in the price of gasoline, on November 17 Khamenei announced he "is not an expert in this area" but supports the decision taken by the heads of the three branches of the government. He also called on the authorities in charge of the country's security "to carry out their duties."

A day after the implementation of the three-fold price hike Mahmoud Sadeqi had announced that the reformist Omid (Hope) faction of the Majles had held an extraordinary meeting and decided to propose an urgent motion to reverse the price increase. The move fell apart after Khamenei sent his note to parliament.