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

Posted on: July 19th, 2021

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.

Three Days of Iran Protests Over Fuel Price Raise

Posted on: November 18th, 2019

Protests have erupted across Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it is rationing petrol and increasing its price. The protests took place across the country following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight of November 14, 2019, to cut petrol subsidies to raise funds for social assistance to the poor. Petrol price was increased to a minimum of 15,000 Rials per liter, 50% increase from the day before.

Nationwide protests in the last three days were in at least 48 cities such as: Ahvaz, Shooshtar, Dezful, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khorramshahr, Bandar Mahshahr, Rasht, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Khorramabad, Qom, Ilam, Karaj, Sanandaj, Dorud, Qazvin, Arak, Mahdi Shahr, Garmsar, Shahroud, Najafabad, Mariwan, Tehran, Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Saveh, Pasargadae, Qods (Qal’eh Hasan Khan), Varamin, Sari, Yasuj, Qaemshahr, Shahrekord, Malek Shahr, Parand, Damavand, Pol Dokhtar, Neyshabur, Sarepol Zahab, Kahnooj, Yazd, Bandar Bushehr, Bahmai, Shahriar, etc. They are still ongoing in several cities.

Peaceful demonstrations turned violent in Sanandaj, Mahshahr, and Shiraz, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing teargas at protesters and mobs setting fires. Several people were injured or killed in the first three days of protests as a result of the police’s direct shots. On November 17, 2019, students of Tehran University and Tabriz University protested inside the university. Shops at Tehran Grand Bazaar went on strike on November 17, 2019.

The protests started on November 15, 2019, and are still ongoing. The arrest of more than 1000 people across the country was confirmed. More than 150 banks and supermarkets were set on fire and a police officer was killed. Two Hawzas -a seminary where Shi’a Muslim clerics are educated- were set on fire in Shiraz and Kazerun. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 36 people were killed in Sirjan, Shiraz, Behbahan, Marivan, Khoramshahr, Isfahan, and Shahriar.

According to Fars News, protests were held in 100 cities and at least 100 banks and 57 supermarkets were set on fire. Based on this report, the number of protesters were 87400 from which 82200 are men and 5200 women. At least 1000 people were arrested. Yazd prosecutor confirmed the arrest of 40 people in the city of Yazd. Bam Prosecutor also confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the city of Bam. The prosecutor of Robat Karim confirmed the arrest of 34 protesters for vandalism. According to Mohammad Reza Amoui, Kermanshah’s chief of Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on November 16, Major Iraj Javaheri was killed fighting with protesters in Kermanshah. A journalist resided in Mariwan, Adnan Hasanpour, reported that security forces shot people directly and at least seven people were killed in Javanrud, one person was killed in Sanandaj, and several people were injured. According to unconfirmed reports, 15 of the killed people are identified as following:

Meisam Adgipour, Khaled Maniat, Ali Ghazlavy, Milad Hamidavi, Ali Boghlani, Hamzeh Savari, Mohammad Asafi Zargani, Ehsan Abdollahnejad, Mehdi Nikouei, Osman Naderi, Mehran Tak, Shahou Validi, Javad Nazari Fathabadi, Mehrdad Dashtizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati.

Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country. On November 16, 2019, by the approval of the National Security Supreme Council, the government has completely blocked Internet access in Iran to stymie protests. Due to the internet shut down and the lack of access to freelance reporters and citizen journalists, confirming news about demonstrations and deaths is difficult. It also caused difficulty for Iranian citizens to have access to news agencies websites. On Monday, November 18, schools are closed in 17 cities across Iran:

Shiraz, Kazerun, Alborz, Fereydun, Fereydun Shahr, Farsan, Kuhrang, Laran, Taleqan, Astara, and Najafabad. In addition, universities are closed in Shiraz.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed petrol price increases claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage and not ordinary people. According to Khabar Online, Mojtaba Zonnour, a parliament member representing Qom, is collecting parliament members signatures to impeach Ali Larijani, the head of parliament. He gathered 50 signatures so far. Mohammad Qasim Osmani, a parliament member representing Bukan, filed his resignation and added that he resigned to announce that he was not involved in this decision [raising petrol price]. Today, with respect to Ayatollah Khamenei’s views, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that the protesters will face harsh punishments. Reportedly, people received threatening text messages in Khuzestan and Karaj from the prosecutor’s offices of their province. People were warned about attending protests and not to disturb public order and facilitate the abuse of opposition groups.

Video reports of the first day protests:

Video reports of the second-day protests

Video reports of the third day of protests: