TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)_Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Sunday, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.
“After implementing this plan, we saw that some people took to the streets to protest. I believe that it is natural when the administration implements a plan and not everyone agrees to it. Some people may be opposed [to that plan] and they have the right to give voice to their opposition,” Iran's president said.
“What the government has done was in accordance with the law…We act on the basis of the law and what we finalized was agreed upon by the heads of the three branches of the government,” he added.
On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.
The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.
The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.
Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.