Iran News ...


07/02/18

Protesters, Police Clash For Second Night In Southwestern Iran Over Drinking Water

Source: RFE/RL

Demonstrators protesting over water scarcity in southwestern Iran have clashed with police for a second night, local media report. The state-run IRNA news agency said the protesters threw projectiles at police and set trash cans and a car on fire in a protest that began late on July 1 in the city of Abadan, some 660 kilometers from Tehran.  It did not say how many people were involved in the protest, but said the situation was now "under control."


Satire by Iman Khaksar, Ghanoon daily


Reports and video posted on social media indicated rallies elsewhere in Khuzestan Province, including in the provincial capital, Ahvaz.

In Mahshahr, local media reported that demonstrators took to the streets to express support for the residents of nearby Khorramshahr who have been protesting shortages of drinking water over the past days.

Late on June 30, clashes broke out between police and the protesters in the port city.

Shots could be heard on phone videos circulated on social media from the protests.

Eleven people were injured in the violence and a number of demonstrators were arrested, officials said.

BBC Persian quoted activists as saying "dozens" were detained.

State television showed banks with broken windows, and reported in the afternoon of July 1 that "peace had returned" to the city.


"Our effort is to bring these protests to an end as soon as possible with restraint from police and the cooperation of authorities, but if the opposite happens, the judiciary and law enforcement forces will carry out their duties," Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said.

Rahmani Fazli and other officials have denied reports of deaths in the protests.

"Nobody has died during the unrest in the city of Khorramshahr,' IRNA quoted him as telling journalists on July 1.

A number of protests have broken out since the beginning of the year over the lack of drinkable water in Khuzestan Province, which borders Iraq and is home to a large ethnic Arab community that has complained of discrimination.


Protesters rally against local water conditions in Abadan last month.

Critics say mismanagement by the authorities, combined with years of drought, has led to a drop in rivers' water levels and the groundwater levels in the oil-rich province.

Javad Kazem Nasab, a lawmaker from Khuzestan, suggested that local residents were not benefiting from the province's resources.

"In Khuzestan we have oil, water, petrochemical [industry], steel, ports, agriculture, date palms, and a common border with Iraq, but people do not benefit from these blessings and all they get is pollution and rivers that have dried," Kazem Nasab told the semiofficial news agency ISNA on July 2.

Nasab warned that water scarcity, unemployment, and failure to rebuild the cities that were damaged during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War could create "security" problems.


Read related article by Ghanoon daily

The latest protests in southwestern Iran came after three days of demonstrations in Tehran starting from June 24 over the country's troubled economy.

The rallies included protesters confronting police outside parliament and officers firing tear gas at the demonstrators.

They also led to the temporary closure of the city's Grand Bazaar, where shopkeepers denounced a sharp fall in the value of the national currency, the rial.


With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda, BBC Persian, ISNA, IRNA, AP, and AFP

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