Five Day Summary: Recap of Ongoing Protests over Water Crisis in Khuzestan

Today, July 19, the widespread protests in Khuzestan over the mismanagement of officials regarding the ongoing water crisis continued for a fifth consecutive day. Since the start of the protests on Thursday, provincial authorities have confirmed that at least two civilians have been killed by military forces.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, today’s rallies in Khuzestan took place in Hamidiyeh, Ahvaz, Kut Abdullah, Susangard, Ramhormoz, Mahshahr, Khorramshahr, Veys, and Chamranhere. There were no reports of violence or shootings by government forces except a report from Chamran city, which seems to be aerial shooting.

 

 

The weekend’s demonstrations also saw heavy escalation. As shown in videos previously published by HRANA, the Susangard protests were responded to with violence from on-duty military forces this Sunday. In multiple areas police opened fire on unarmed protesters.

The protestors blocked the roads connecting Ahvaz to Khorramshahr and Ahvaz to Shush by lighting fires. There have also reportedly been sporadic internet outages across the province.

Since the second day of the protests, provincial officials have confirmed that two citizens, 30-year-old Mostafa Naeemawi from Shadegan, and 17-year-old Ghasem Naseri (Khaziri) from the Kut Abdollah area of Ahvaz, were killed during the protests. HRANA has received reports, which have yet to be verified, of a third civilian additionally being shot dead by military forces.

Previously, the governor of Khuzestan said,  “The published videos of the protests in the province are fake and no protest has taken place.”

“Some seek to provoke the people and publish fake images of the protests in cyberspace,” the governor  further stated. “For example, nothing has happened in the cities of Khorramshahr and Susangard, but clips related to the past events are published in cyberspace!”

Public rallies to protest the water cuts and lack of access to drinking water began on the night of Thursday, July 15, and have spread to at least 17 cities so far.

During the last four days, people protested in at least 17 cities, including Shavur, Karkheh, Kut Seyed Naeem, Shush, Ahvaz, Abadan, Hamidiyeh, Bostan, Susangard, Bandar Mahshahr, Khorramshahr, Shadegan, Kut Abdollah, Mollasani, Hoveyzeh, and Abou Homeyzeh in Khuzestan Province and Mashhad. In some of the released videos, the sounds of gunfire can be heard, and a recurring theme across the footage is the heavy presence of armed military and security forces.

Local sources published reports, as of yet unverified, that several protesting citizens were injured and many others were detained in the city of Khorramshahr. So far, Abdolreza Soleimani, Darem Soleimani, Mansour Soleimani, Yarullah Soleimani and his son Ali Soleimani, all residents of Khorramshahr, are reportedly detained.

Workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company supported protests in Khuzestan during their rally and march on Sunday, July 18.

A resident of Ahvaz told HRANA about the situation in the city, “Special forces from other places are quickly (being) deployed to Ahvaz to suppress young protestors. Access to drinking water is one of the most basic civil rights. While Khuzestan was once considered the most water-rich province in the country, the mismanagement has led to the crisis of supply of drinking water in Khuzestan to become a serious challenge for people.”

Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash, a representative of Shazand City in Parliament, said that providing water and development is an immediate responsibility of the entire government. Bighash wrote in a tweet:

“The situation in Khuzestan is concerning, I point it out indirectly, be very careful about what happened in Khuzestan; open all the [Karun River’s] water sources to quench Khuzestan’s thirst and put out the fire.”

Abdullah Izad Panah, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Khuzestan, also gave a statement in a recent meeting about crisis management in which he criticized the water transfer projects in the province.

“Water transfer projects should be stopped,” the representative said. “Drought is just one side of the issue. The transfer of water has caused Khuzestan to fall to this condition.”

Earlier, Jalil Mokhtar, the representative of Abadan, considered the problems caused by the transfer of water from Khuzestan province to other provinces, and mismanagement.

“Unfortunately, we have witnessed the water transfer from Khuzestan to other areas based on government approvals,” Mokhtar said. “Khuzestan, which was a fertile plain, is now on a desertification path.”

The Human Rights Defenders Association wrote an open letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressing concern about the suppression of protesters of the water crisis by security officials and calling for an end to the suppression.

“Khuzestan province, despite having rich oil resources, is among the most deprived provinces in Iran, and its residents are facing a high range unemployment, losing water sources, polluted air, and frequent power outages, so their protests are completely justified, and the response must not be bullets and imprisonment.”

Watch our compilation of video footage taken at various protests throughout the province.

Labor Activist Gharib Havizavi Arrested by Security Forces in Ahvaz

On Tuesday, June 22, Gharib Havizavi, a labor activist and recently-fired employee of the Khuzestan Steel Company, was arrested by security forces in Ahvaz and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Khuzestan Steel Company security officer had blocked Mr. Havizavi from entering the building in April while he was still employed.

On June 12, in a hearing that was held at the Ahvaz Labor Office to process his appeal for returning to work, Havizavi was fired from the company by order of the employer’s legal representative.

Havizavi has a history of being summoned and detained by security forces. The report does not specify Havizavi’s location or the charges against him.

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place in different parts of the country this week. Below is a quick recap and footage from the demonstrations.

 

Saturday, June 12

On Saturday, June 12, a group of rice farmers in Khuzestan rallied in front of the governor’s office. In Tehran, retired drivers of the Tehran Bus Company gathered in front of the company’s headquarters. Contract workers of the maintenance unit for Tehran Metro Line 5 held a rally in front of Hashtgerd metro station, a group of shareholders of Cryptoland Exchange who lost money to the company rallied in front of the Economic Crimes Court building, and family members of SMA patients gathered in front of the Ministry of Health building.

Rice farmers in Khuzestan:

 

Retired bus drivers in Tehran:

Workers of the maintenance unit for Tehran Metro:

Shareholders of Cryptoland Exchange:

 

Sunday, June 13

On Sunday, June 13, a group of shopkeepers in Gachsaran in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province gathered in front of the governor’s office. A group of veterans who were injured during the Iran-Iraq war rallied in front of the Martyr Foundation building in Tehran, several drivers and workers of the Tehran Bus Company heled a rally in front of the city council building, and Cryptoland exchange shareholders gathered in front of the Economic Crimes court building again.

Shopkeepers in Gachsaran:

Injured Iraq-Iran war Veterans:

 

Bus drivers in Tehran:

Shareholders of Cryptoland Exchange:

 

Monday, June 14

On Monday, Several fishermen in Kharg city of Kharg Island gathered in front of the border checkpoint. A group of workers of Tehran Jonoob company protested in Mahshahr in Khuzestan Province.  Landowners in the new city of Pardis, rice farmers in Khuzestan Province, and fired workers of Khuzestan Pipe Industrial Company also held rallies.

Fishermen in Kharg island:

 

Workers of Tehran Jonoob company in Mahshahr:

 

Landowners in the new city of Pardis:

 

Tuesday, June 15

A group of delivery motorcyclists in Laleh Park in Tehran, and a group of families of Bafgh phosphate mine workers in the conference hall of Ahanshahr town held protest rallies.

Delivery motorcyclist in Laleh Park in Tehran:

Wednesday, June 16

The staff of Telecommunication Company of Khuzestan in the cities of Shushtar, Masjed Soleiman, and Ahvaz gathered in front of their cities’ Telecommunication Offices. Shareholders of the “Mashhad Mall” project rallied in front of the building of Ayandeh Bank in Mashhad. Workers of Tehran Jonoob Company held protest rallies for the third day in a row in Mahshahr.

 

Protest of staff of Telecommunication Company in Khuzestan:

Shareholders of Cryptoland Exchange:

 

Workers’ protest in Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry:

 

Protest of workers in Mashhad Mall project:

 

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place in different parts of the country this week. Below is a quick recap and footage from the demonstrations.

 

Saturday, May 29

 

On Saturday, May 29, A group of farmers in Ahvaz city held a rally in front of the Khuzestan governor’s building near the Salman water supply canal to protest water shortages. Teachers of Green Result-Letter rallied in front of the Ministry of Education building in Tehran. Staff of Imam Khomeini Hospital in Karaj gathered after receiving inaccurate salary payments in the hospital area. Izeh preschool teachers rallied in the city’s education building and protested uncertainty over their employment status. Persian Gulf Holding staff protested in front of the gate of the special Mahshahr site. Protestors called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Farmers in Ahvaz city and rural areas:

 

 

Teachers of Green Result-Letter:

 

 

Staff of Imam Khomeini Hospital:

 

 

Izeh preschool teachers:

 

 

Workers from the Persian Gulf Holding:

 

 

Sunday, May 30

 

On June 30, farmers from different villages of Ahvaz city held a rally for the second consecutive day in front of the Khuzestan governor’s building. Retirees of Khuzestan Steel Company held rallies in several cities including Tehran, Ahvaz, Isfahan, and Rudbar in front of their cities’ Civil Servants Pension Fund buildings. A group of teachers and staff of non-profit schools from different cities gathered in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in Tehran, in front of the Education Department in Isfahan. Several professors at Azad University in Ahvaz, Shiraz, and Isfahan rallied in front of the campus buildings of their towns. Several fired workers of Mahshahr Petroleum Products Distribution Company gathered in front of the entrance of the oil depot of this city. Bankrupted investors in Caspian Financial Institution rallied in front of the Judiciary building in Tehran. Villagers of Bloband from the Kharqan section of Zarandieh city in Markazi Province held rallies as well.

 

Farmers from different villages of Ahvaz:

 

 

Retirees of Khuzestan Steel Company:

 

 

Tehran

 

 

Khuzestan province

 

 

Teachers and staff of non-profit schools in Tehran and Isfahan:

 

 

Azad University Protesters:

 

Ahvaz

 

Shiraz

 

 

Isfahan

 

 

 

Fired workers of Mahshahr Petroleum Products Distribution:

 

 

Bankrupted investors in Caspian Financial Institution:

 

 

Monday, May 31

 

Several employees of the Persian Gulf Holding Oil protested in front of Mahshahr Petrochemical Site 4. A group of teachers rallied in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in Tehran. Service staff of the National Iranian Drilling Camp protested in Ahvaz. Staff of Imam Hospital Khomeini protested in Karaj. A group of temporarily employed staff of Mahshahr Petrochemical Special Zone and Bandar Imam held rallies.

 

Employees of the Persian Gulf Holding Oil:

 

 

Temporary employees of Mahshahr Petrochemical:

 

Service staff of the National Iranian Drilling Camp in Ahvaz:

 

Staff at Imam Khomeini Hospital in Karaj:

 

 

Tuesday, June 1

 

A group of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane workers protested in front of the management office complex. A group of landowners in the new city of Pardis gathered in front of the Judiciary building, several of whom lost money to the Mehr View Housing project in Tabriz, at the project’s site.  Masjed-e-Soleiman ranchers who lost their livestock to sewage water pollution of Masjed Soleiman Petrochemical protested the devastating oversight.  A group of bus drivers in the bus terminal of Shiraz held protest rallies and called on their demands to be addressed.

 

Landowners in the new city of Pardis:

 

 

Masjed-e-Soleiman ranchers:

 

 

Mehr View Housing project:

 

 

Bus drivers in Shiraz:

 

 

Wednesday, June 2

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane gathered in front of the complex’s management building for the second day in a row and protested. A group of Ahwaz Water and Wastewater personnel rallied in front of the company’s building.

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane (Day 2) :

 

 

Thursday, June 3

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Cane, who say they have not yet received their salaries for the past two months, rallied for the third day in a row in the company’s yard. Police responded violently to the demonstration. In Tehran, BRT bus drivers  rallied to call on their demands to be addressed.

 

Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane (Day 3):