Protests erupted in Khuzestan, southwest Iran, due to water shortages. These protests showed the depth of Iran’s water crisis. Angry locals clashed with security forces, chanting “People want regime change,” showing society’s restiveness.
July 17 – Ahvaz, southwest #Iran
Activists are uploading videos online showing how regime authorities are dispatching many anti-riot units to quell the locals' protests over severe water shortages.#IranProtestspic.twitter.com/8eZahqMGUN
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) July 18, 2021
The international media also covered the anti-regime slogans chanted during the protests. “During some of the protests, people vented their anger with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chanting ‘Death to the dictator’ and ‘Death to Khamenei,’” Reuters reported on July 17.
The current protests in Khuzestan reveal the different aspects of a deep and comprehensive crisis.
After 42 years of plundering, the regime’s devastating policies have created a water crisis. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has built hundreds of unscientific dams to generate income for covering its expenses and military purposes. Thus, the country’s important water resources, such as Lake Urmia and the wetlands of Gavkhoni, Parishan, Bakhtegan, etc., have been destroyed.
Once the only navigable river in Iran, Karun has now become an almost dry stream due to the construction of 24 dams by the IRGC.
In addition to water shortages, Iranians, particularly those in Khuzestan province, now face power outages.
Iranians are left without electricity for hours in the scorching heat, due to the lack of expansion of the electricity infrastructure in proportion to consumption growth; Mass cryptocurrency mining by the IRGC and Chinese companies, with large consumption of Iranian electricity, and the export of electricity to neighboring countries to generate the currency needed for repression, terrorism, and filling the pockets of official.
Besides, Iranian are now grappling with Covid-19, and due to the regime’s inhumane policies, Iran is now experiencing its fifth Covid-19 wave. Yet, the regime refuses to vaccinate people. The situation in provinces like Khuzestan and Sistan, and Baluchestan is critical, with hundreds of people dying daily.
People are also facing rampant inflation and skyrocketing prices. According to the regime’s engineered statistics, Iranian households lose 20% of their purchasing power annually. According to the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily, “Ehsan Soltani is one of the experts who believe that the real inflation rate in June was 71%, and this rate has been calculated by realizing the announced statistics and adapting it to the market realities. Considering this announcement rate, we conclude that the announced inflation rate by the Statistics Center is 28% lower than the real inflation.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran released a statement regarding the recent protests. “Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), saluted the arisen people of Ahvaz and Khuzestan Province who, in dire need of water and freedom, have come to the streets. Mrs. Rajavi called on all youths to rush to the aid of the people of Khuzestan, especially those wounded. She said that opening fire on unarmed residents and the martyrdom of the brave sons of the people in Shadegan, Kut-Abdollah, and Kuy Zovieyeh, again demonstrated that as long as the plundering mullahs remain in power, poverty, unemployment, and disease will continue. The mullahs deny the people water, power, bread, housing, and vaccines to provide for the unpatriotic nuclear and missile projects and their warmongering in the region.” reads the NCRI’s statement in part.