PJM's Ardeshir Arian, following developments in Iran closely by phone and on the Internet, reports that unrest sparked by government gas rationing took place mainly in Tehran, but also in other cities.
Following the rationing of gasoline in Iran, many people waited in lines to fill their tanks before the price hike until the last hours of Wednesday, June, 26, 07 in Tehran and other Iranian cities. The rationing caused angry mobs to attack the gas stations and set them on fire.
BBC and Reuters initially reported that at least one Tehran gas station is burning in protest. But PJ Media has learned the number is more like fifteen. (Some sites like Anti-Mullah are reporting as many as fifty.)
A left-wing Iranian website, SJK, which has several videos and photographs, has reported from Tehran that people ignited tires and other flammable materials to start fires in the city. They put police cars, blocked roads and entered into clashes with the security forces, basijis (regime vigilantes) and regular police.
According to SJK, more than 15 gas stations were set on fire in the early hours of morning. People have also attacked one city hall building in Tehran. The protests included government banks and government-run supermarkets, which were ransacked by ordinary people. It took hours for security forces to gain control and some forces fled the scene to safety.
The areas include Sohrevardi, Azadi Square (Shahyad), Pirouzi, Tajrish, Vali-Asr, Tehra-No, Shariaty, Imam Hossein (Fouzieh) Square and some other Tehran neighborhoods.
Demonstrations have leaped to other Iranian cities like Karaj, Mashad, Tabriz, Bandar-Abbas, Ardabil and Kermanshah.
Cries of “Death to Ahmadinejad” were heard.
There are reports that Basijis and Pasdar forces (Revolutionary Guards) used tear gas to disburse the angry crowd. One report states that a young man was shot by the security forces and is in critical condition.
UPDATE: The Baztab news site claims that reporters with cameras in hand covering the unrest were attacked. This took place out of fear that security forces were photographing protesters in order to identify and arrest them.
This news site, headquartered in Tehran, is citing foreign sources – including BBC and Radio Farda (US Persian-language Radio) as reporting that three people were killed in the unrest. Some reports on websites indicate that arrests were made by the IRI agents.
Iran Press News, an Iranian opposition news site from Europe reported arguments inside the Iranian Parliament (Majles) regarding the handling of the gas rationing issue. One parliament member claimed that these unrests are not the work of angry citizens but the work of “terrorists”, “enemies” and “American dollars.”
Photos by Iran Student News Agency