Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, July 23, 2021—Protests continued in Iran’s Khuzestan province on Thursday night, marking the eighth day of the demonstrations that began over extreme water shortages in the severely hot summer weather of the province.
The regime’s brutal response to the protests, gunning down demonstrators and killing several people, has only added to the rage of the people of Khuzestan, who have seen regime authorities ignore their pleas for their most basic needs. The regime has called in backup forces from neighboring provinces to quell the ongoing protests in Khuzestan. Despite the heavy presence of security forces across the province, demonstrations continued late into the night on Thursday.
Across the province, protesters were chanting anti-regime protests such as “Down with the dictator,” “The people want regime change,” and “Down with Khamenei,” calling for the ouster of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader.
Protests were reported and documented in most cities of the province, including Ahvaz, Andimeshk, Susangerd, Shush, Behbehan, and Dezful. The continued protests and the regime’s violent response have caused the protests to spread to neighboring provinces.
The regime has been cutting off internet access across wide swaths of the country to prevent news of protests being posted online and sent abroad.
In Izeh, anti-regime slogans could be heard across the city as protesters continued their rallies despite security forces attacking them and opening fire on their ranks. Videos posted on social media show the regime sending backup forces in the evening to suppress the protests.
Hadi Bahmani, a 17-year-old youth killed in Izeh by security forces during last week’s protests, was interred on Thursday. During the ceremony, a large group of people gathered and chanted anti-regime protests.
In Susangerd and Ramshir, the people returned to the streets at night despite brutal repression by security forces in the previous days.
In Shadegan and Masjed Soleiman, the protesters stood their ground when security forces attacked them. The people of Masjed Soleiman were chanting, “The Bakhtiaris are united with the Arabs,” showing the unity of different ethnicities against the brutal regime of Iran.
In the Sheyban, Zargan, and Malashiyeh districts of Ahvaz, the people blocked roads in protest to water shortages.
In Dezful, clashes between protesters and security forces continued late into the night and until the early hours of Friday morning. According to reports by locals, gunfire was heard until 4 am.
On Thursday, demonstrations were also reported in several cities of Bushehr and Lorestan provinces. In Aligudarz, Lorestan province, security forces attacked locals who had gathered to voice their support for protesters in Khuzestan.
In Tehran and Karaj, people also held rallies in solidarity with the people of Khuzestan. In Kermanshah, a large group of people rallied in solidarity with the uprising of Khuzestan.
Numerous reports indicate the regime has cut off internet and mobile network access in many areas. NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet access across the world, reported “a significant regional disruption to mobile internet service in Iran beginning Thursday 15 July 2021 amid protests against water shortages in Khuzestan.”
“This class of internet disruption affects connectivity at the cellular network layer and cannot generally be worked around with the use of circumvention software or VPNs. Hence, it can severely limit access to information without the implementation of a total or national network blackout,” NetBlocks reported.
The ongoing resistance of the people of Khuzestan continues to draw support across the world. “Once again, the Iranian people are standing up to the brutal regime in Tehran. America needs to have the back of those who are crying out for freedom,” U.S. Congressman Ted Budd said.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio expressed his support for the people of Iran and condemned the Iranian regime’s violent response to the protests. “The U.S. should stand in support of the protesters instead of negotiating a deal with the evil regime in Tehran,” Sen. Rubio said.
Khuzestan is faced with a severe water crisis, mainly due to the regime’s destructive policies. In recent weeks, reports from Khuzestan show the Hur ol-Azim marsh drying up and livestock dying due to lack of water.
At the same time, the province’s inhabitants are facing additional problems due to electricity outages. Last week, the people have held protests over power blackouts.
The unjustified creation of dams on the Karun river in the region is the main reason the people are facing water shortages. Khuzestan is one of several provinces that are faced with water shortages due to government policies. In May, the Arman newspaper published a column about the water shortage crisis and wrote, “This is a struggle that, according to some, is rooted in the inefficiency of government officials in managing water sources and has resulted in the destruction of the lives of many citizens who rely on these water sources to make a living.”