On Monday, February 17th, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian regime’s president, visited the ministry of petroleum in Tehran. Simultaneously, a man set himself on fire across the ministry’s building. This morning Hassan Rouhani paid an unannounced visit to the ministry and discussed the situation with senior executives of the oil industry.
State-run websites including ILNA and Fararu reported on February 17: “This man was a retired employee of the ministry of petroleum and the ministry had decided to take back the retired employees’ corporate houses.” The retired employees of the petroleum ministry protested this decision but no action was taken by the ministry.
Akbar Nematollahi, spokesman of the ministry of petroleum, stated this in an interview with ILNA news agency regarding the news of the self-immolation of an employee of the ministry: “Today following visit of the Hassan Rouhani to the ministry, an employee set himself ablaze outside the ministry’s building…. The identity of the person and the reason for self-immolation is not determined but he is transferred to a hospital.”
Due to increasing economic difficulties, employees of various companies have staged protests over the past two years. The retired employees of the Abadan refinery demonstrated in December 2013 across the building of the ministry of petroleum, but in the end no reforms were made. The employees have been repeatedly beaten and humiliated by security forces and threatened with expulsion.