Shortly before the Eid al-Fitr celebrations began in Iran, residents from Gheizaniyeh, Ahwaz, blocked the Ahwaz-Mahshahr road to protest the extreme water shortage that they were experiencing. The Iranian security forces responded violently, using tear gas and bullets against protesters and resulting in the injury of several demonstrators, including a small child.
This is far from the first time that locals have protested water shortages. For several years, the 30,000 residents of Gheizaniyeh and 85 other villages have been suffering greatly, but authorities have always failed to fulfil their promises, even though Gheizaniyeh is rich in natural resources and provides a significant share of Iran’s oil revenues.
Yet still, the people of Gheizaniyeh have experienced poverty, unemployment, and water shortages, that have caused untold pressure on locals and resulted in widespread outrage toward the regime.
Following the regime’s brutal reaction, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani sent their lackeys – the Friday prayer Imam of Ahvaz, the Energy Minister, and the governor of Khuzestan – to apologise to the wounded and make more promises to provide drinking water “in the summer”; something that is already too late and will likely not be met.
This unprecedented reaction is proof, if it was needed, that the regime recognises its precarious position and that any protest against the regime at this time could be the spark that sets off an uprising and spells the downfall of the regime. No one could seriously believe that the regime is ashamed of their violence against deprived people and want to make things right. After all, just a few months ago, the regime’s security forces massacred 1,500 civilians for protesting an increase in gas prices.
The regime is more than aware that the people are furious with the regime’s malign actions and the mullahs are only doing this to avoid bigger protests in other areas of Ahvaz, like Shadegan, Mahshahr, Shush, and Hafteh Tappeh, all of which have previously seen massive protests against the regime. Other protests over water shortages, caused by diversion were seen recently in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province.
Even regime insiders are predicting that the Iranian people can only be pushed so far before the poor “set fire to” the mythical palaces built by the rich and bring the whole regime down in flames.
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “It is clear that the nature of this regime is intertwined with corruption and looting, and that this regime neither wants and nor can take effective steps to respond to the demands of the people… The fierce atmosphere that is raging across the country has terrified the ruling mullahs. Because in the current situation, the possibility of the fire of protest spreading from one region to another is very possible… But the main question that remains is, to what extent can the mullahs’ regime prevent the outburst of anger and hatred of the hungry, looted, and oppressed people through repression or all sorts of psychological manoeuvres and deceptive promises?”