The Iranian oil ministry said on March 28th that it would move forward with plans to relocate a natural gas refinery near the Gulf in spite of violent public outcry.
Protesters mobbed the southern town of Lamerd on March 27th railing against government plans to transfer the facility to the nearby Mohr district.
Citizens of Lamerd are concerned that the relocation will divert government funds from their town and result in lost job opportunities.
Senior security officials said that protesters had burned tires in the streets and had set fire to the governor’s office.
No one was hurt during the riots after dozens of people had been wounded in the area last December during clashes between security forces and demonstrators following an administrative quarrel between Lamerd and Mohr.
The National Iranian Gas Co. (NIGC) indicated that the relocation of the refinery was necessary for technical reasons, but promised that any tax revenues generated from the facility would be divided among the entire region, which is located south of the Fars province near the Gulf.
A statement from NIGC said that: “Local authorities should do their utmost to pave the way for the construction of the refinery so there won’t be a delay in the project.”
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)