Iran imports 40% of their gasoline at $2 a gallon, then sells to the public at a highly subsidized 34 cents a gallon, up 25% in a month. The price hike combined with newly imposed mandatory rationing has led to two nights of rioting, with gas stations being burned and state-run agencies being attacked.
The problem is not that Iran lacks oil, but that it lacks refinery capability. Their government is, genuinely I’d say, nervous that countries they import oil from could choose to stop selling it to them. If so, the government could “collapse.”
So, the rationing is a preemptive strike to cut consumption. With a government this heavy-handed or desperate, the neocons don’t have to do much but just nudge the process along. This assumes that if the current government falls, that whoever replaces it will be friendly to the US, a doubtful assumption indeed. A more likely consequence would be another semi-failed state like Iraq.
And check out Joe Hartley’s insightful comments about this in our previous post on the topic.