Iran: protests over water rights in Ahwazi region

Ahwazis protest

Two were killed July 16 as¬†Iranian security forces opened fire on Ahwazi Arab protesters in Ahvaz, capital of southwestern¬†Khuzestan province.¬†The deaths came after days of demonstrations in the Arab-majority region, which is now stricken by withering drought. Hundreds of sheep, cattle, buffalo¬†and other livestock have died in the region over the past weeks. The protests began a week ago, with a peaceful vigil outside the¬†governor’s office, demanding that authorities open the sluice gates on the network of massive hydroelectric dams built upstream on the region’s main rivers, which divert some 90% of the waters to other regions of Iran.¬†Protesters held up placards in Arabic, Persian and¬†English, with messages including: “Water is a human right”, “We are thirsty‚Äďgive us water!”, “Stop killing our environment!”, and “Stop drying out the Ahwazi rivers and marshlands!”¬†The protesters also chanted slogans condemning Iran’s central government, such as “The regime stole our rights and our wealth!”¬†and “The regime keeps us in poverty in the name of religion!” Small protests were also held at government offices in several rural villages across the region. (Dur Untash Studies Center, DUSC, Ahwazna,¬†Ahwazna)

Photo: Dur Untash Studies Center

  1. Death toll rises in Ahwazi repression

    The death toll in Khuzestan now stands at a minimum of seven, with hundreds arrested, as protests have spread beyond the capital Ahvaz to other cities and towns. A force of Revolutionary Guards has been mobilized to the province. (DUSC)

  2. Iran: water protests spread to Isfahan

    Scores were arrested and at least two killed in Isfahan last week as protests broke out over a severe water shortage. Drought is a cause, but they also accuse the authorities of diverting water from the city to supply the neighbouring province of Yazd, which is also desperately short on supplies. The Zayandeh Rud River that flows through the city has been reduced to a barren strip of dirt. (Al Jazeera, AFP, Reuters)