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Iran: Water Crisis in Isfahan and Farmers’ Protests

Due to the Iranian regime’s policies, the Zayanderud river, the largest river of the Iranian Plateau, has dried and affected the ecosystem and locals’ lives. In recent days, farmers in Isfahan province, central Iran, held protests demanding their due right to water.

“In the last months of Hassan Rouhani’s government, what remains of the Zayandehrood River, the vital artery of the Central Plateau of Iran, is a street covered in dirt in the heart of Isfahan,” wrote the state-run Mehr News agency on Saturday.

Farmers have been holding rallies for long, protesting the regime’s destructive water distribution policies. “Provincial officials announced that water would be distributed in May but did not specify the exact time of release, its duration, and the volume of water delivered,” Mehr News quoted a farmer.

“We should prepare the land to cultivate. We must provide suitable seeds and fertilizer, but no one is responsible for us. We are left undecided and have no income with these economic conditions,” the farmer, identified as Seyed Morteza, tells Mehr.

The regime’s destructive water distribution policies affect not only farmers’ lives but also the ecosystem. “Every time the Zayanderud river closes in Isfahan, thousands of fish die, and this is a serious threat to the environment,” Mehr News Agency added.

Every time the Zayanderud river closes in Isfahan, thousands of fish die, and this is a serious threat to the environment

“Even though MPs promised to follow up on farmers’ problems during a visit to the east of Isfahan last month, so far, no results have been obtained from this meeting for the livelihood and determination of farmers’ duties and demands,” Mehr News acknowledged.

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But where the water goes?

“We farmers do not need the water of the Beheshtabad tunnel or the water of the Persian Gulf; If the illegal pumping that was done to develop the gardens and villas of some of the officials’ relatives be stopped, our water will be returned,” one farmer told Mehr News Agency.

Also, the regime has rerouted the water for the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) industrial projects. The regime has increasingly built factories, sucking up large amounts of water. Water has also been diverted to other regions.

“The Ben-Brojen Plan, which incorporated providing a huge water supply to large industrial factories and using the water for other areas and many decisions that resulted from mismanagement has made the people angry,” Hesam Nazari, one of the regime’s local officials, had told the ILNA News Agency on January 28, 2019.

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Now with this crisis intensifying, Mehr echoes the regime’s fear of protests by farmers.

“The wound of the Zayanderud river has reopened following the drought.

Farmers in the east and west of Isfahan have not been able to cultivate since October last year due to water shortage and lack of reservoirs in the Zayandehrud Dam reservoir,” Mehr wrote adding, “In the past eight months, farmers have asked provincial officials repeatedly to address livelihood problems, implement legal decrees to revive the Zayandeh River, and determine the farmers’ due right to water.”

“The silence, recklessness, and indifference of the government to save the challenging Zayanderud have frustrated the most oppressed people that are making their living from farming. Wrong policies are now exacerbating the social, economic, and environmental consequences,” Mehr warned the regime’s officials.