While the Iranian economy shrinks and inflation takes hold of the pocketbook of the average family, the Ayatollah in Iran has supported a gasoline hike, which triggered protests along highways in and around Tehran. Out of fear of a 2009-like series of protests, the government of the Islamic State shut down the internet, in what one major firm called the biggest shutdown in information flow in the history of the country. Angry protests followed a hike in gasoline prices that now has the religious leadership calling for “thugs” to be silenced. In his address aired by state television on Sunday, the supreme leader announced, without giving details, that “lived were lost” and “some places destroyed.” Despite wide spread protests it is worth noting that gasoline prices are still some of the lowest in the world – gas being 13 cents per liter or 50 cents per gallon ($2.60 is the average US price).
Still with a 50% increase in gasoline overnight, the highways around the city of Tehran have become parking lots as cars are stopped in protest. Khamenei has ordered security forces to take action and for citizens to stay in doors to avoid violent protests. The government of Iran is battling US sanctions and its weakening economy that is highly dependent on oil exports. Sanctions are said to be strangling the economy which could shrink over 6 percent this year while inflation has spiked to over 40%. The average consumer in Iran is paying a heavy price for the ongoing Iranian Nuclear Program.