Iran’s water crisis spurs protests – reports
DUBAI, July 16 (Reuters) – Street protests erupted overnight amid severe water shortages in oil-rich southwest Iran, according to Iranian media and videos posted on the networks social issues on Friday, as the country faces its worst drought in 50 years.
Videos showed protesters setting tires on fire to block a road and security forces were seen trying to disperse the crowd as gunshots were heard. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.
“State television should report what we are saying and show the image of the buffaloes which perished for lack of water,” said an elderly protester on a video broadcast by the regional news site Asrejonoob.
In May, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian warned of water shortages this summer, saying this year was “one of the driest in 50 years.”
Water shortages have led to blackouts and there were protest marches in several towns over the past week. During some demonstrations, people expressed their anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chanting “Death to the dictator” and “Death to Khamenei”. Read more
In recent weeks, thousands of workers in Iran’s key energy sector have staged protests, seeking better wages and working conditions in southern gas fields and some refineries in major cities. Read more
Iran’s economy has plummeted due to the impact of US sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowhere in the Middle East has been hit harder by the virus than Iran.
Protests by workers and retirees have been almost incessant for months, with growing discontent over an economy suffering from over 50% inflation, high unemployment, with some workers complaining that their wages are not being paid .
Dubai newsroom report; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
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