TEHRAN, Iran — One civilian was killed and others injured in the Iranian city of Sirjan, the semi-official news agency ISNA said Saturday, a day after protests in the central city over a gasoline price hike.
“Unfortunately someone was killed,” Sirjan’s acting governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said in the report, adding that the cause of the death and whether “the individual was shot or not” was still unclear.
Other people were injured during the demonstrations, he said.
Mahmoudabadi emphasized that “security forces did not have permission to shoot and were only allowed to fire warning shots… which they did.”
Iran imposed gasoline rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent on Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts.
Under the scheme, drivers will pay 15,000 rials (13 US cents) a liter for the first 60 liters of petrol bought each month, with each additional liter costing them 30,000 rials (26 US cents).
Iran continues to have some of the lowest fuel prices in the world, supported by heavy government subsidies.
The country has huge energy reserves, but it is struggling to meet its domestic fuel needs because of a lack of refining capacity. International sanctions add to the problem by limiting the supply of spare parts to repair and upgrade facilities.
Fuel rationing introduced in 2007 under former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to curb consumption led to anger and violence, including the torching of several gas stations. It was halted in 2015.
“Scattered” protests against the measure also broke out in other cities including Abadan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Birjand, Gachsaran, Khoramshahr, Mahshahr, Mashhad and Shiraz, according to state news agency IRNA.