Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday threw his support behind a decision to hike petrol prices, a move that sparked nationwide unrest in which he said “some lost their lives.”
A policeman was killed in the western city of Kermanhshah in a clash with armed “rioters”, the second confirmed death since protests erupted across Iran on Friday.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed “hooligans” for damaging property despite widespread anger at the increases and as Iranians suffer from the country’s economic woes.
Several people were also wounded and dozens arrested in two days of demonstrations that saw motorists block highways and others attack and set fire to public property. In a speech aired on state television, Khamenei said “some lost their lives and some centres were damaged”.
The protests flared hours after it was announced that the price of petrol would be raised by 50 percent for the first 60 litres (16 gallons) and by 300 percent for anything above that each month.
Khamenei said that “I am not an expert and there are different opinions but I had said that if the heads of the three branches make a decision I will support it.