Demonstrator Shot Dead At Iranian Water-Shortage Protest

One person has been shot dead during a protest against water shortages in southwestern Iran, Iranian media reported on July 17.

A local official in the town of Shadegan blamed other protesters for the killing, saying they had been firing bullets in the air “to provoke the people,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Protests have broken out across Khuzestan Province in recent days as Iran faces its worst drought in at least 50 years. Agriculture and livestock farming have been devastated, and power blackouts have swept the area.

Social-media videos have shown protesters lighting fires to block roads, while security forces tried to disperse demonstrators.

Some protests have featured slogans against the country’s theocratic government and its head, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In addition to the drought, Iran’s economy has been hit hard by U.S. sanctions and by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation is over 50 percent annually, and unemployment is on the rise. Pensioners have been protesting, and there have been reports of wage arrears.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and IRNA