According to local reports and footage, on January 13, Tehran and many cities across Iran went into darkness. This power outage took place while the people simultaneously faced enormous dilemmas due to the coronavirus outbreak and air pollution.

Officials have yet to provide acceptable explanations. Nonetheless, according to local sources in Urmia city, northwestern Iran, the power outage has brought several dilemmas for merchants and ordinary people.

In the past week, citizens have faced temporary power outages in almost all of Iran’s provinces. However, Tuesday’s outage was unprecedented, and it has seemingly engulfed all of the Iranian metropolitans.

Power Plants Have No Fuel

According to an official who demanded to remain anonymous, Mehr News Agency, affiliated with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), acknowledged several power supply plants of the capital were cut out from the circuit. The official reckoned this issue was the reason for Tehran’s power outage.

“This official who asked to remain anonymous said, ‘the reason for the expanded power outage in various parts of the capital, including Tehran’s west, southwest, and south districts, is due to the cut off of several power supply plants in the capital,” Mehr reported.

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“He said that the [government’s] failure to provide on-time fuel for plants is the reason for this incident,” Mehr added. In parallel with Tehran, reports show that the people in the cities of Rasht in Gilan province, northern Iran, and Tabriz in Eastern Azarbaijan province, northeastern the country, witnessed expanded power outages.

On the other hand, locals reported a power outage in the cities of Ardabil in Ardabil province, Marvdasht in Fars province, Semnan in Semnan province, Karaj in Alborz province, Qaemshahr and Babol in Mazandaran province, Mashhad in Razavi Khorasan province, Hamedan and Nahavand in Hamedan province, Gorgan and Gonbad Kavous in Golestan province, Mahabad in Western Azarbaijan province, parts of North Khorasan province, and many other cities.

The prolonged power outage has also brought enormous problems to the people due to this year’s cold winter. Moreover, many workflows and jobs, which depend on electricity, have been disrupted.

The Government Intentionally Cut Electricity to Quell People’s Demands

Furthermore, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, the Electric Industry spokesperson, realized the power plants’ fuel shortage is the reason for the power outage in Tehran and other metropolitans. “Given the increase in consuming cooking gas, supplying gas to power plants has restricted,” he said.

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This is while these days people suffer from extraordinary air pollution due to the use of mazut for power plants. In such circumstances, the people have to endure a power outage now. It seems that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have resorted to a power outage to quell public protests toward using mazut and air pollution.

Such autocratic actions of collective punishments are only done by dictators, who have cut off all their relations with the population and stifled people’s basic demands. However, these performances that only widen the current gap between the state and society could trigger another round of nationwide protests.

The fact is that Iran’s volatile society awaits to release its fury against the dictatorship, and these actions may trigger Iran’s powder keg.

"If we don't let people protest, they will overrun this regime" said law professor Ali Saber Toulaei