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Iran Protests Over Lack of Flood Relief

Iran Protests Over Lack of Flood Relief

By Mahmoud Hakamian

Iranians have been staging angry demonstrations against the Regime’s inadequate response to the country’s worst floods in a decade, citing the lack of adequate shelters for those made homeless and decisions to release water from major dams, causing major damage to people’s homes and businesses, to avoid hitting the Regime’s oil wells.

Videos on social media show protests in Lorestan Province and Khuzestan Province, which were both heavily hit by the floods, with mass evacuations and substantial damage to homes and infrastructure. Despite the video evidence, IRGC Public Relations Chief Ramezan Sharif denied the protests, calling the reports “propaganda”.

In one video, uploaded on April 4, an angry crowd can be seen chanting slogans at former IRGC Commander-in-Chief Mohsen Rezai.

In another released on the same day, protesters surround the vehicle of Iranian army commander Ahmad Khadem Sayyid al-Shohada in Khuzestan Province, but he dismissed the protesters as “emotional”, before admitting that the Regime was damaging farmlands.

He said: “In some areas, we need to remove barriers in order to allow flood water to run downstream although this measure may cause damages in the farmlands.”

The Regime previously insisted that they would pay for damage done by the floods, but the speaker of the parliament said that they do not have enough money. In fact, many Iranians were quick to point out that they had not received compensation for previous disasters and many people in Western Iran are still living in tents over a year after the earthquake.

When the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) responded to the protests in Dasht-e-Azadegan in Khuzestan province, they opened fire, killing protester Aboud Jalizi and injuring several others.

At the same time as many Iranians are complaining about inadequate relief, the Regime’s various factions have begun fighting amongst themselves. the IRGC accused President Hassan Rouhani’s administration of mishandling the relief response.

IRGC commander Mohammad Pakpour said on April 3 that there has been “no management” of the rescue or aid operations in Lorestan Province and that government officials do not “dare” to go to the region because the “people are in a rebellious mood”. He said that citizens evacuated from the area “are in a sorry state and conditions are bad”.

The floods began on March 19. They have now hit hundreds of towns and villages in 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces. At least 200 are thought to have died based on local reports.