Ian Patrick, FISM News
While some Middle East nations grapple with the advancing Taliban and the emergence of the Delta coronavirus variant, there is one province in Iran that has been dealing with a water shortage all of this week.
Khuzestan, an oil-rich territory that was once seized by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, has been battered with droughts and hot temperatures for the entirety of 2021. While the region has been facing water shortages for many years, this year has been “especially difficult for the province,” according to AlJazeera.
Along with the drought, citizens have been suffering from a blackout in the region and Internet slowdowns. Fed up with the crises and the apparent lack of response from the government, Iranian citizens have been protesting the regime and the lack of supplies since at least July 16.
As citizens have been voicing their frustrations, Iranian security has reportedly been cracking down on the protestors. There have been at least 4 confirmed deaths and reports of Iranian security shooting into crowds and using violent crackdown measures. Many have been arrested, and citizens claim more have been killed than have been reported.
The internet is also reportedly shut down. Reuters reports that “internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said it could ‘corroborate widespread user reports of cellular network disruptions, consistent with a regional internet shutdown intended to control protests.'”
#Khuzestan's internet is still cut off. Dear world, help us get our voice across. The Islamic Republic of Iran wants brutally repress legitimate protests for water. And it doesn't want the world to know how brutal it might be by cutting off the internet https://t.co/ShunfRVXq8
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 22, 2021
President Hassan Rouhani’s government has reportedly set aside money for Khuzestan to help alleviate the crisis and the army is delivering water tankers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the people “have the right to speak, express themselves, protest and even take to the streets within the framework of the regulations.” The Ayatollah said that the water shortage is not the people’s fault, and asked Iranian officials to deal with the issue.