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Reduction in Iran's gasoline subsidy sparks anti-government protests

President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement of a large reduction in the gasoline subsidy sparked protests across a number of cities, with deaths having been reported.

On Nov. 15, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced a reduction in the gasoline subsidy, sparking protests across the country. Authorities shut down much of the country’s access to the internet as protests raged for a third day Nov. 17. Despite the large backlash, seen through street protests that quickly took an anti-government tone, administration officials and the supreme leader insisted that the reduction in subsidies will move forward.

“Because the expert views on the gasoline situation is varied — some say it is necessary and some say it is detrimental — and since I am not an expert on this I said if the three branches agree, then I will support it,” Khamenei said, lending support to the policy Nov. 17 in a televised speech. Khamenei’s response, the heavy presence of riot police and the shutting down of the internet suggests authorities had anticipated there would be protests against the reduction in subsidies.

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