Heavy security on Iran streets after subsidy cuts

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 19, 2010 19:03

TEHERAN, Iran — Iran deployed squads of riot police around the major intersections of the capital Sunday, bracing for any kind of violent backlash in the tightly controlled Islamic Republic on the day deep cuts in food and energy subsidies went into effect.

Angry taxi drivers complained as the price of fuel rose four times overnight in one of the world's leading oil producers.

"I don't know what to do," said one frustrated cab driver, who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by authorities. "I am not allowed to increase price of my service while I am paying five times more than yesterday."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Saturday night that the subsidy cuts, long expected, would go into effect at midnight. Though Iran has tremendous oil wealth, its economy appears to be straining under the weight of four rounds of UN sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.


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