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Page added on July 1, 2007

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Iran leader backs ”brave” gasoline rationing move

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday threw his weight behind a gasoline rationing scheme which sparked angry protests and left more than a dozen petrol stations burnt out in the world’s fourth largest oil exporter.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority under its system of clerical rule, hailed the government’s “bravery” in a speech to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and senior officials, state television reported.

Despite huge energy reserves, the Islamic Republic has limited refining capacity and imports 40 percent of its fuel needs, a sensitive issue when world powers are threatening new U.N. sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Seeking to rein in costly imports and soaring consumption of heavily-subsidised fuel, the government in May raised the litre price by 25 percent and on Wednesday launched a delayed plan to ration the sale of gasoline.


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