June 28, 2007


Gas rationing in Iran ignites anger, unrest: Protesters burn at least 12 stations over the quota system, imposed to curb consumption of heavily subsidized fuel (Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, June 28, 2007, LA Times)

They have endured religious police, political repression and international isolation.

But a quota imposed Wednesday on the purchase of subsidized gasoline sent Iranians to the streets, where they set fire to at least 12 gas stations, damaged government-owned banks and department stores and shouted slogans against the president, according to Iranian news agencies and witnesses.

To curb rapidly increasing gasoline consumption, the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday began enforcing a rationing program that limits most motorists to 26.4 gallons a month at the subsidized price of about 42 cents per gallon.

Although Iran possesses huge reserves of crude oil and natural gas, it has too few refineries to meet the energy-hungry country's demand, forcing it to import more than $4 billion of refined petroleum a year, most of it from Europe. That dependence makes Iran vulnerable to economic sanctions from the West, which is pressuring it to halt uranium enrichment. [...]

But despite concerns voiced by supreme leader Ali Khamenei and security officials, the government revived the plan this week, putting it into effect with only two hours' notice.

While he's done much to constrain the President, it appears that to be worthy of his office the Ayatollah needs to remove him from power altogether and call new elections. That's an unfortunate departure from constitutional norms, but a nice demonstration of why republics require a monarch (or, in the Iranian case, a guardian).

When Heroes Depart (DANIEL JOHNSON, June 28, 2007, NY Sun)

Then it was off to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to the Queen. This was a private meeting, the last of many hundreds over the past decade. When Winston Churchill, the first of Elizabeth II's prime ministers, resigned 52 years ago, he wore a frock coat and top hat.

In his time, Mr. Blair has abolished the last vestiges of Victorian tradition. The constitutional role of the monarchy, though, is not just a tradition. It means that no prime minister, however dominant, is above the law.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2007 7:33 AM
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