Angry Iranians attacked several gas stations in protest after the government suddenly began long-threatened fuel rationing, while many others rushed to fill their tanks.
You wouldn’t think one of the world’s biggest oil producers would have gasoline shortages, but Iran simply lacks the refining capacity to meet demand. A new rationing system meant to keep costs down has sparked riots. Under the new rules, prices have soared to 38 cents a gallon.
Iranians smashed shop windows and set fire to a dozen gas stations in the capital Wednesday, angered by the sudden start of a fuel rationing system that threatens to further increase the unpopularity of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Police were sent to guard some stations after the violence, and there was calm during the day as motorists lined up to fill their tanks under the new restrictions.
The government had been warning for weeks that rationing was coming, but the announcement of its start just three hours before the plan took effect at midnight Tuesday startled people and sent them rushing to get one last fill-up.