Tehran, Iran -The Iranian authorities stated that a policeman was shot and killed by an “instigator” in Iran’s Khuzestan province. The six night protests in the province due to lack of water have turned into deadly consequences.
State media reported that another policeman in the town of Mashahr was injured in the leg by a bullet on Tuesday night because videos and reports from the oil-rich southwestern province showed that the violence had not stopped.
The authorities have Confirmed so far Two civilians, 18-year-old Ghasem Khozeiri and 30-year-old Mostafa Naimawi were shot and killed on Friday, but they said these young people were not protesters but were killed by “opportunists and thugs”.
I am afraid that more protesters will die, but officials have yet to confirm more deaths. They also did not disclose how many civilians were arrested.
In the past few days, sporadic Internet slowdowns or power outages have been reported across the province. Despite Internet restrictions, a large number of videos have appeared in several counties of Khuzestan in the past week, many of which can be heard and the use of tear gas can be seen.
In some videos, protesters can be seen venting angrily to a large number of security forces riding motorcycles, wearing black clothes and brandishing batons.
A video allegedly from Tuesday night shows a tank set as a memorial to the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. It was on fire and the tires were on fire to close the road.
These videos cannot be independently verified.
After Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Iran with the support of the West, some of its areas were temporarily occupied by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. The oil-rich Khuzestan has been facing water problems for decades. For a long time, its large Sunni Arab population has complained about the marginalization of Shia-dominated Iran.
However, this year is particularly difficult for the province and the country as a whole due to extensive power outages and water shortages due to extremely hot temperatures and drought.
Officials admitted that the province was hit hard, but they claimed that separatist groups were responsible for the violence and accused foreign media of trying to use the situation to oppose theocratic institutions.
The government of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani said it had allocated new funds to ease the situation, while the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said they were deploying water tankers to dry areas.
Some of the largest protests took place in the province during the nationwide protests that resulted from the sudden increase of gasoline prices threefold in 2019. Human rights organizations said that hundreds of people were killed in these protests because Internet access across the country was almost completely cut off for nearly a week.
In the past week, social media and traditional media have been flooded with reports, news and reactions from the situation in Khuzestan.
Tags such as #KhuzestanIsThirsty and #KhuzestanHasNoWater in Persian have been widely used to draw attention to crises and protests that are rarely reported by the international media.
Some civilians tried to raise funds to buy water bottles and tankers to ship to Khuzestan, but others pointed out that these actions belittle the long-term problems facing the people of the province, who needed sustainable solutions after years of mismanagement and neglect after the war.
“Khuzestan’s problem stems from the illegal water transfer project at the river fork and the water mafia stealing water from the source of the river,” Ahvaz’s lawyer Fereshteh Tabanian tweeted.
Residents of Khuzestan pointed out on social media that the province never really had potable tap water. They had to buy water or fetch water from rivers, many of which have now dried up.
Many citizens now turn off the same dirty tap water.
The power outage has also exacerbated the situation, as many people use electric water pumps to get water from their homes.
On Tuesday, a group of activists and human rights advocates, including Narges Mohammadi, Served for eight and a half years, Demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Interior in the capital Tehran, expressing support for the Khuzestan people.
Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani said the activist and several others were arrested. He later said that they were released in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Two former presidents — reformist Mohammed Khatami and hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — also criticized the authorities’ response to the protests.
Khatami said: “No political, security, military or law enforcement organization has the right to use reactionary unrest as an excuse to use violence, weapons or bullets to counter the protests of the people.”