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Water Shortage: Fault of Nature or the Crime of Iran’s Government?

Residents of Shahrekord and other cities of Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari province in Iran took to the streets protesting the regime's destructive policies of rerouting local rivers that have devastated people's lives.
Residents of Shahrekord and other cities of Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari province in Iran took to the streets protesting the regime's destructive policies of rerouting local rivers that have devastated people's lives.

Since June 2021 concurrent with the people’s protests in Iran’s Khuzestan province, the country is witnessing constantly new protests over water shortage.

After the recent protests in Isfahan and then in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, the regime, out of fear that the people would declare the regime to be the main culprit of this situation, is introducing drought and rainfall decrease as the main reasons for this situation.

After the water rights protests of Shahrekord, state television said: “In this march, they tried to convey their water concerns to the officials from more than a decade of drought, glacier melting, decreasing of the water volume of the rivers and springs in the water center of Iran in the southwest of the country in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province.” (State TV News Channel, November 21, 2021)

Meanwhile, the people expressed their frustration about these lies and chanted: “Our Radio and Television is a shame.” Then the people called for solidarity to confront the ‘governing mafia’ who is the main culprit of this situation. So, they addressed the main cause of this situation which is the corrupt and looting government.

They chanted: “The nerveless officials have looted the water.”

The fact that the extreme water shortage which has now engulfed nearly most parts of the country is not related to a natural drought is something that the regime media is forced to confess, too.

The State-run daily Javan affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which is the main mafia for plundering Iran’s water resources, wrote on November 20, quoting Mohammadreza Mahboubfar, a government expert:

“Mahboubfar, in response to the question that government and local officials in Isfahan and the capital have repeatedly stated that the reason for water problems in Isfahan is due to the suspension of water projects and the decrease of rainfall in this region, he does not consider the share of rainfall reduction in the current crisis as significant.

“And in answer to the question of whether these droughts are due to climate change or incorrect and unprofessional environmental decisions, he answers:

“‘If you study the average annual rainfall in Iran, the amount of rainfall in the country has decreased by about 15 to 25 percent, and a 15 to 20 percent decrease in rainfall can never cause a 90 percent of the drought of the country’s land and that 90 percent of the country faces subsidence.’”

He added: “If the country’s water resources are taken out of the hands of economic organizations and the water mafia, the problem will definitely be reduced.”

The water mafia has become the pseudonym of the IRGC which owns most of the country’s industry from the profiting dam projects to the military and missile industry, nuclear projects, and the petrochemical industry which are industries with a high-water consumption.

In fear of the protests, the state-run daily Mostaghel on November 21 warned the regime and wrote: “Is it okay that the people of Lorestan carry out an armed revolt tomorrow? Why don’t you take any action? Why are you repeating the same mistake a thousand times? Control the Mafia.”

The state-run daily Ebtakar on November 21 wrote: “The water crisis in the five provinces of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Lorestan, Yazd, Isfahan, and Khuzestan has turned into water stress.

“On the one hand, there have been occasional attacks on water transfer facilities from Isfahan to Yazd, and on the other hand, the people of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Khuzestan and Lorestan have complained that water is being transferred from springs to other provinces. The dam-building policy has also been heavily criticized.

“Mehrdad Weiss Karami, an MP, called ‘water tension the result of the water mafia’s long domination on the water management and said: ‘Investigating the water mafia is a fundamental solution.’”

Thus, the people and even some officials fearing the regime’s future are pointing to the water mafia as the main reason for the crisis and are warning the regime, each from their perspectives.