On the seventh night of the water protests, more provinces joined in support of locals demanding water in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Protesters in Dezful, Rashir, Ahvaz, Shadegan, Mahshar, Khormousa (Mahshahr), Masjed Soleyman, Susangerd, Behbahan, Elhayi in Khuzestan southwestern Iran, Yazdanshahr in Isfahan central Iran, and Bushehr and Ganaveh in Bushehr southern Iran took to the streets. Over 30 cities have taken part in the water protests in the past seven nights.
The water protests started on July 15 in several cities in the province of Khuzestan. Iranian Arabs protested the regime’s water mismanagement. Iranians chanted “Water is our right” and “They looted us in the name of religion” in Arabic. By the sixth night, protesters in Izeh, a predominantly Bakhtiari city in Khuzestan, targeted the regime’s Supreme Leader, chanting “Down with Khamenei!” and “We don’t want the Islamic Republic!”, among other anti-regime slogans.
Riot police clashed with locals, using pellet guns and tear gas to disperse crowds. Security forces used force, sometimes lethal, against protesters. Protesters used burning tires to create roadblocks on the main roads of several cities.
Social media reports indicate that several protesters were killed during the seven nights of protests. We have confirmed two of the killings and have not included the identities of several other protesters in this report.
Many protesters were injured and detained, although details of their identities have yet to be published. The Human Rights News Agency said 18 people were detained.
Netblocks, an organization that monitors international Internet outages, reported ongoing internet disruptions in the southwestern province of Khuzestan starting on July 15.
Regime officials vow to crackdown on “rioters”
The Prosecutor’s Office in Khuzestan wrote in a statement yesterday that the demands of the people of Khuzestan should be answered, especially those of livestock farmers and farmers who have suffered from the lack of water. However, he warned that “rioters”, “foreign mercenaries”, “hypocrites”, and the “evil anti-revolutionary elements” would be “countered decisively” and “dealt with severely according to the law” for disturbing the peace.
The Governor of Dezful, another city in Khuzestan that joined the protests last night also warned protesters. He called protesters “rioters” or “seditionists” and said those who “took advantage” of farmers’ protests by blocking roads and causing “problems” would be “severely dealt with”.
This is while after seven nights of protests, the water problem has not been solved in the southwestern province. Security forces used brutal force against demonstrators from the first day of the protests by Iranian Arabs, who were only chanting for water.
Referring to slogans aimed at the regime and its Supreme Leader, outgoing president Hassan Rouhani attacked protesters today for chanting “false” slogans that “makes the enemy and those who are anti-Iran happy”.
Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province
Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province is home to a large ethnic Arab population. Khuzestan is the hottest inhabited region in Iran and sometimes the world.
Locals took to the streets to protest the drying up of the provinces’ two main rivers, the Karkheh and Karun.
Iranians blame regime elites and the unelected Supreme Leader for their lack of basic living facilities, including the recent water shortage. They believe the money from Khuzestan’s oil industry goes towards making regime elites richer and funds Iran’s nuclear program and regional terrorist groups.