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Water protests boiling over in Iran

Water protests boiling over in Iran
ID : N-1616 Date : 2018/04/17 - 12:33

(Persia Digest) – Following a letter written to President Rouhani by MPs representing Isfahan, a second letter has been delivered to him by Yazd MPs regarding water shortages and difficulties faced in this southern province of Iran by the salt desert.

Iran has been facing a severe drought and water shortages over the past few years. The occasional protests over the problem have now boiled over to increasing protests these days, said to be a security threat by some analysts. Following the unrests in Iran in December 2017, Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times: “The key point here is that street unrests were triggered mainly in areas severely affected by the drought, extensive climate change, and an indiscriminate use of water.”

Increasing protests in Isfahan, especially after Nowruz this year, prompted Isfahan MPs yesterday to write an open letter to President Rouhani, asking for an emergency meeting to convene over water in this province. The letter reads: “With regard to the fresh drinking water of five million people in Isfahan Province drying up in August this year (2018), the continued lack of water in the Zayandeh-Roud River, and no water available to the farmers in the province, we are asking for your orders to convene an emergency meeting with the province MPs.”

Today, Yazd Province MPs also wrote a letter to the President regarding water shortages in this province. It is emphasized in the letter: “The drinking water network for Yazd Province, to the east of Isfahan Province, has been cut three times over the past month. Drinking water for the city is currently being provided directly by agricultural wells which is not suitable for human consumption. If the water transferred here through the drinking water network is cut off, the current situation can endure for one or two months at the most.”

Stating that the mines in the province supply nearly half of the country's iron ore, Yazd MPs warned: “If the government is unable to secure the provision of drinking water to the people of Yazd Province, it implicitly allows the people to take control of the mines here; this will only erode national sovereignty.”

It must be noted that writing such letters is not unprecedented. Top officials and Ulema of Khuzestan Province have previously written to the President about the drought and lack of water in this southern Iranian province and plans to transfer water from here to adjoining provinces.

What is obvious is that the water crisis, whether due to the drought or bad administration, is clearly apparent in Iran, triggering a social and even political-security crisis in the country.

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