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Protests in Southwest Iran Due To Water Crisis

Protests erupted in certain southern Iranian cities because of water shortages – July 15, 2021

Protests broke out in dozen cities in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran on Thursday night due to the water crisis.

Facing severe water shortages which have devastated their lives, people poured on the street protesting the regime’s inaction. 

Instead of answering people’s demands, the regime dispatched its security forces to Khuzestan province. Footages from Iran show security forces resorting to massive gunfire to disperse crowds of locals who are merely protesting water shortages. 

According to reports from Iran, cities like Ahvaz, Bostan, and Mahshahr witnessed protests and people clashing with the security forces. 

According to locals, security forces use AK-47 assault rifles to open fire on people who are just protesting water shortages. 

For the last few days, the water crisis in Iran, mainly in the south, reached a critical point, leaving people without water for hours. People took to the streets, pointing the blame at the regime and its corrupt policies. In Ahvaz, angry protesters blocked the main road while protesting severe water shortages. 

Locals in Hamidieh, Ahvaz continued their protests and marched on the street, dispersing the anti-riot unit who tried to stop them. 

Reports indicate that over 700 villages in Khuzestan are suffering from water shortages. Farmers are in a dire situation, the palm trees die, and the buffaloes perish due to water shortages. In other words, people are dying in the swamp of carelessness and mismanagement of the ruling mullahs. 

People in the Bostan town of Dasht-e Azadegan, west of Ahvaz, chanted, “We will not accept humiliation,” protesting the lack of water due to transferring it to other cities. 

Background 

Iran’s water crisis has reached a critical point. Even the regime’s state-run media have acknowledged the dire situation. 

“Of Iran’s population of 85 million, about 28 million live in areas with water shortages and are under pressure in this regard, mainly in the central and southern regions of the country. Water shortages have affected all sections of society, from urban households to agricultural and rural communities,” wrote the state-run Aftab News on Sunday, July 4, 2021. 

“The struggle of buffaloes in the sewage of the city that was once the shores of the wetland has only one message: an environmental catastrophe is happening in silence,” wrote the state-run Arman daily in this regard, on July 4.   

Iran's potable water crisis in Khuzestan southern Iran

One of the examples of Iran’s water crisis is the drying of Hawizeh Marshes and nearby wetlands.   

Arman-e Meli then quotes Homan Khakpoor, an environmentalist, Hawizeh Marshes “100,000 hectares is in Iran and plays an important role in climate change, with farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and people taking food from it to their table. Undoubtedly, with the destruction of this wetland, Khuzestan is slowly moving towards desertification and depopulation because this wetland will be the source of dust and sandstorms.” 

“Unfortunately, the Ministry of Agriculture and the government’s macro-policies have caused this catastrophe. The Ministry of Energy claims that with 1.4 million cubic meters of water, the Hawizeh Marshes should not be dried and that they have sent 1.8 million cubic meters of water to this wetland from the Karkheh dam. But if this claim of the Ministry of Energy is true, this dam is about 100 km away from the wetland, and in this distance, the released water flows into the agricultural lands,” Khakpoor added. 

Iran Expanding protests hint at what is to come

In addition to the unscientific construction of dams, the regime is exporting massive amounts of river water to Kuwait each year, leaving southwest areas in severe shortages. 

Therefore, Iranians who now even do not have drinking water point the blame on the regime. These protests once again show the only solution to Iran’s crisis is regime change.