In one day last week, Iran’s gasoline rationing initiative was put in place and shortages quickly mounted, with the closure of an oil pipeline. What started off as a simple test experiment quickly became reality in the streets of Iran, with dozens of Iranians pouring into the streets to search for petrol. Video footage of protests has subsequently appeared in many Iranian news outlets, with one shot of a protester yelling, “The people want the downfall of the regime,” while residents fear they could soon see unrest on the same scale seen in 2009.
Storeowners and shippers say the simple answer to the shortage is just allowing more Iranian nationals to travel. But the idea of more Iranian tourism is, in the end, far too simple. In all reality, the supply crisis appears to be much more complex, with retailers working around the quota system but complaining they still cannot meet demand. Ultimately, as we said in the first story, more liberal policies around the country will not solve this problem.