In protest of Iran’s blackouts, protesters took to the streets in several cities, gathering in front of the municipality, energy, and electricity company buildings.
Iranians gathered in Tehran, Kazeroun in southern Iran, Gonbad Kavous, Aq Qala, and Kordkuy in northeastern Iran, among other cities.
Locals protested continuous power outages and blackouts. In some cities, locals blocked the main roads and gathered outside the municipality buildings. In footage circulating on social media, locals chanted “down with the dictator”, “down with the Islamic Republic” and “down with Khamenei” in Tehran.
Iran’s blackouts were reported in at least 15 cities including Tehran, Karaj, and Shahriar near Tehran, Qazvin northwest of Tehran, Semnan, and Rasht in northern Iran, Mashhad in northeastern Iran, Isfahan in central Iran, Shiraz, and Ahvaz in southwestern Iran, Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, Zabol, and Zahedan in southeastern Iran, and Kermanshah in western Iran.
Highest recorded temperatures in Iran, amidst the blackouts
The unannounced blackouts add to the pressure Iranians are tolerating during the hottest days of the summer season.
Yesterday, Ahvaz in the southwestern province of Khuzestan had a high temperature of 50°C/122°F, which was the highest recorded temperature in the world yesterday. Other cities in Iran that were among the highest recorded temperatures yesterday included Omidieh, Safi-Abad Dezful, and Abadan in the province of Khuzestan.
Hospitals in danger during Iran’s blackouts
In some footage, hospitals are shown where patients connected to machines are suffering when the power is cut off. Many hospitals in Iran do not have backup generators. In one video, a man says a patient was undertaking surgery when the power was cut off, and doctors had to complete the stitches with a cellphone light.
Iranians have been facing water shortage in several cities in the past weeks. Due to low rainfall, deteriorated infrastructure and other water problems, many cities in Iran have been struggling with a water crisis.
The Head of Iran’s Water and Sewage Company said yesterday that among 304 cities reporting water problems, 101 are in a “red state”.
Bitcoin mining in Iran consuming the electricity
While blackouts upset society, Iran’s parliament has recently proposed a bill to extract cryptocurrency in order to generate an annual gross income of 500 million tomans ($19,976).
On May 21, Reuters reported that around 4.5% of all bitcoin mining took place in Iran. According to the report, a new study showed that this will allow Iran to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies that can be used to buy imports and lessen the impact of sanctions.
“The electricity being used by miners in Iran would require the equivalent of around 10 million barrels of crude oil each year to generate, around 4% of total Iranian oil exports in 2020”, the study said.
In May, Iran’s blackouts disrupted the daily lives of millions. Despite blackout timetables announced by officials in Tehran, the neighboring Alborz Province, and Khorasan Razavi in northeastern Iran, unannounced blackouts occurred across the country for two days.
The state-run ISNA News Agency said Mohammad Hassan Motevalizadeh, the CEO of Tavanir (Iran’s Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Management Company) blamed Iran’s blackouts on drought impacting hydropower generation, and surging electricity demand due to crypto-currency mining and the increase in temperatures.
In February, the Chairman of the Iran-China Chamber of commerce said in addition to Chinese companies, Polish and Indian companies had official permits for bitcoin mining in Iran.
Foreign companies with bitcoin farms are consuming a lot of the available electricity and energy in Iran.