Water crisis spurring protests in Iran

Will a water crisis in Iran create widespread protests?

By: The Tower and World Israel News Staff

A lack of water has been spurring protests in Iran against the regime since the beginning of the year, Reuters reported Thursday.

Gathering information from online videos, Reuters reported that the protests over the water crisis have taken place mostly in Isfahan, located in central Iran, and, the Khuzestan province in the west, which is largely inhabited by non-Persian Arabs who call the region Ahwaz.

At one of the earlier demonstrations, at the beginning of the month, protesters were seen carrying signs with the tongue-in-cheek message, “Death to farmers, long live oppressors!”

While attendance at the earlier protests in the town of Varzaneh, near Isfahan, was light, a week later more people joined in.

In the later protests dozens of police on motorcycles were seen confronting protesters. A person who recorded the incident said that tear gas was used.

A journalist in the area, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters, “What’s called drought is more often the mismanagement of water.”

This unrest follows widespread protests that occurred in the Islamic Republic earlier this year over government corruption.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization, approximately 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought conditions. The drought, according to advocacy groups, has caused dislocation.

“Towns and villages around Isfahan have been hit so hard by drought and water diversion that they have emptied out and people who lived there have moved,” Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director for the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), said.

Seth Siegel, author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World, wrote in an op-ed published last year in The New York Times that Iran was facing “the worst water future of any industrialized nation” due to “bad governance and corruption.”