Report: Iran to cut portion of gasoline subsidies
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will cut a portion of its gasoline subsidies beginning Friday, nearly doubling some prices at the pump as part of a second round of cuts delayed since 2012, state television reported Thursday.
Iran dismisses U.S. criticism of its election to U.N. NGO committee
Iran on Thursday rejected U.S. criticism of its election to the United Nations' committee on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), saying Washington's rebuke came from "baseless accusations" and violated the spirit of cooperation needed at the world body. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power on Wednesday said, "The unopposed candidacy of Iran, where authorities regularly detain human rights defenders, subjecting many to torture, abuse, and violations of due process, is a particularly troubling outcome." Hamid Babaei, spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission in New York, vehemently rejected Power's remarks. "Iran categorically rejects baseless accusations raised in the statement of (Power) regarding status of human rights and civil liberties in the Islamic Republic of Iran and find these assertions both unconstructive, obstructive and against the spirit of cooperation between sovereign member states," he said.
US protests Iran's election to UN NGO committee
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power protested the election of repressive regimes including Iran to the U.N. Committee on Non-governmental Organizations which deals with civil society groups accredited to the United Nations.
Iranians face midnight fuel price surge as subsidies cut
By Michelle Moghtader DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranians have rushed to gas stations to fill their cars before a price surge expected at midnight on Thursday, as President Hassan Rouhani pushes ahead with a policy to cut fuel subsidies. The new prices of subsidized petrol, diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) have not been announced, but the increases will test Rouhani's support among a population battered by soaring inflation that has been exacerbated by economic sanctions. With memories of riots at the pumps when cheap fuel was rationed for the first time, in 2007, police are on the alert, but do not expect trouble, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said. "We have been preparing for two months to implement these plans in provinces, cities and rural areas," state news agency IRNA quoted Rahmani Fazli as saying on Thursday "Considering the planning, it is expected that the second phase of target subsidies will take place without any problems or displeasure from people." Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, last cut subsidies for fuel, food and utilities in December 2010.
Ukraine steps up military offensive in eastern towns, provoking Russian warning
Ukraine says it regained control of a city hall and defended an army base from pro-Russian militiamen in two eastern towns last night. Moscow responded Wednesday by warning that it would retaliate if its interests in Ukraine were targeted, raising fears that tensions could rise further in the crisis. The small Ukrainian victories, the first since pro-Russia separatists began seizing government buildings in southeastern Ukraine, came two days after acting President Oleksandr Turchynov gave orders for the Ukrainian military to resume operations there, according to The Associated Press. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state-run RT news on Wednesday that Ukraine should pull its forces out of the region, saying the Kremlin is prepared to act in order to “protect” pro-Russian separatists, Bloomberg reports.