Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff 

INU - despite all the police warnings, people of Ahvaz were back into the streets for the sixth consecutive day, protesting against air pollution and water and electricity’s nonstop outage, according to reports received on the evening of Saturday February18,

On the other hand social networks users published images of riot police and troops who were transferred to Ahvaz from neighboring cities to suppress the protests.

The security force of Khuzestan province also issued a statement and threatened people that if they stage, protest gatherings, rallies or demonstrations without prior permission they will be dealt with.

Over the past week, the city of Ahvaz and other cities in Khuzestan Province held many protest rallies and demonstrations

It is noteworthy that yesterday, people of Ahvaz in southwest Iran continued their rallies for the fifth consecutive day outside the regime’s governorate, protesting atrocious air contamination, and continuous water and electricity outages in various cities across Khuzestan Province. The angry crowd was heard chanting: “No to this humiliation”, “If our problems are not solved, Ahvaz will witness an uprising”, “Karoon River is dried up, Ahvaz is in unrest,” “We will be here until our problems are solved”, “Khuzestan has oil, but its people are poor”, “Rouhani, shame, shame, shame”, “The cabinet of management and hope, where is the management, where is the hope?”

They also chanted in Arabic: “With my blood, with my life, I will save Karoon River.”

The demonstrators raised placards written: “Ahvaz = Aleppo, no water, no electricity, no necessities”, “Unemployment, no water, no jobs; Mahshahr (a city of Khuzestan Province) is not Iran’s step-child”, “Will anyone answer our plea?”

Saluting courageous people, youth and women of Khuzestan, especially distressed people of Ahvaz, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi asked them to intensify their just protests and to insist on their urgent demands for minimum necessities of life such as clean weather, water and electricity.

Terrified of these protest rallies expanding, the Iranian regime has dispatched anti-riot and the Revolutionary Guards’ Basij militia groups from neighboring Fars Province to Ahvaz, and significantly lowered the internet speeds in Ahvaz to prevent the uploading of any video clips showing people’s demonstrations and protests.

Following water, electricity and communications services facing shortages and cut-offs in Ahvaz and 11 other cities of Khuzestan Province due to dust storms from January 28 onward, on Thursday and Friday all cities of Khuzestan continued to witness major power outages. Also on Saturday, dust covered all these cities, causing closure of schools and universities in 20 cities.

Some areas also experienced major water service disruptions, parallel to internet and communications networks going down.

On Thursday, February 16, a number of intelligence elements and plainclothes agents viciously attacked hundreds of people rallying in Tehran’s Vanak Square in support of Khuzestan protesters. Four women were arrested.

The demonstrators, consisting mostly of women, raised placards written: “Enough with silence”, “Khuzestan is not alone”, “Khuzestan has no water, and Khuzestan has no clear air”, “Help they dying Khuzestan.”

Iran regime’s state run media reported: Holding up placards saying "don't kill Khuzestan", "Ahvaz in blackout", "Karun River is dead" and asking for their right to breathe in a clean air along with people wearing masks, the crowd of protestor demonstrated their opposition towards the city current situation.

"I'm just a worker and [doctors] had to remove fluid from my chest twice due to the dust filling my lungs," said one of the protesters. "My grandchild, wife and I are all suffering from respiratory diseases; when the storm hits the city we have to shut the windows and draw the blinds and can't leave the house for some days and we feel like prisoners who live in small and dark cells," said another protester.

"Once the storm strikes Ahvaz becomes like a haunted city, we don't have access to phone or internet due to power cut and we can't get any news," another citizen complained.

It's been years that dust storms sweeping across western and southwestern Iran has disrupted life in an unprecedented fashion, closed down schools and government offices, brought flights to a standstill and provoked protests. Suffocating dust is reported to be 66 times above the healthy level as the storm break in the city.

Although some of the dust storms originate from hotspots located in Iraq some believe that despite what Department of Environment claims about Hour-al-Azim wetland restoration the wetland is almost dried up due to the oil extracting activities of Iranian regime in the region and is responsible for the recurrent dust storms.

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