Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has claimed that he did not know when and how the price of gasoline would be increased.
During a trip to Eastern Azerbaijan Province on Wednesday, Rouhani said that he delegated the timing and the manner of the price increase to his interior minister and was caught with surprise morning of November 15 when he learned the price hike had gone into effect. He added that he asked the interior minister not to even tell him when gasoline price hike would take place. Since then Rouhani has echoed remarks by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that protesters were “thugs” and serving foreign powers.
On November 15 when the move was announced, officials said the decision was made a day earlier by the heads of the three government branches, including the president of the country.
Protests in Iran began immediately on the same day and quickly spread to dozens of cities. Authorities quickly resorted to use of lethal force, including shooting protesters at close range. At least 143 people were killed, thousands injured and more than 7,000 were arrested, according to parliament member.