Every day for the past week has seen tens of thousands of farmers in Isfahan taking to the streets to protest the severe water shortages in the region. In a large gathering at the dried-up Zayandeh Rud river basin, which used to flow through the city, protesters chanted slogans and aired their grievances at the Iranian regime.
Struan Stevenson, former European Union MEP for Scotland said, “Apart from a few brief periods, the Zayandeh Rud river has been dry since the year 2000 due to the recurrent diversion of water by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which runs more than 75% of the Iranian economy under the mullahs’ regime.”
According to the farmers, the IRGC has constructed a series of tunnels and canals to divert the water away from Isfahan to the neighboring province of Yazd to serve their military factories. Some protesters have gone as far as to damage some of the IRGC’s infrastructure east of Isfahan in a desperate effort to prevent more water from being diverted.
As the protests took place, several threats were issued from the regime. Isfahan’s public and revolutionary prosecutor claimed that the water crisis was merely due to an ongoing drought and stated that rallies to demand rights regarding the Zayandeh Rud river were prohibited unless permission had been gained by the Provincial Security Council.
In the province of Khuzestan in July, when protests over water shortages in the region turned deadly, regime officials panicked and Ebrahim Raisi, the regime’s president later promised to resolve the water issues. In light of the latest protests, the regime is once again in fear. In a bid to stop the protests from spreading nationwide, the mullahs cut off the internet to suppress information about the uprising from being spread on social media.
Stevenson said, “The increasingly desperate theocratic regime even broadcast a video on state media seeking to blame the main democratic opposition party, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), of attempting to inflame the protests to overthrow the government.”
The current environmental crises in Iran, including devastating floods, forest fires, desertification, water shortages, and toxic air pollution are pushing the country’s environment to the edge of destruction. The increased risk and incidence of such disasters have the regime to blame for, due to their incompetence and destructive policies, as well as the institutionalized corruption at all levels.
Forest fires and severe deforestation for construction activities have seen the loss of over 60,000 hectares of Iran’s forests in the past five years. Rapid desertification of around two-thirds of Iran’s arable land has occurred as a result of the IRGC’s tunnel and dam-building program, diverting precious water resources away from agricultural land where it is desperately needed. Adding to these crises, air pollution has reached severe levels in Tehran, and other large cities, leading to dangerously high levels of toxins that are forcing schools, businesses, and government offices to close regularly to protect the health of citizens.
The farmers who are currently protesting in Isfahan have stated that the water shortages in the area are so severe that for several seasons, they’ve been unable to plant any crops, and are no longer able to grow wheat to make bread.
Stevenson said, “With 75% of the 80 million Iranian population struggling to survive on daily incomes below the international poverty line, protests against the mullahs have grown in size and ferocity. On top of the water crisis, the people are suffering from high unemployment, rampaging inflation, spiraling prices, disintegrating living conditions, and a collapsing economy.”
At this stage, the only answer to resolve all the crises in Iran is the downfall of the Iranian regime. An overthrow of the theocratic dictatorship by the Iranian people and the Resistance movement is the only way to bring peace and harmony to Iran and make the country a better place for future generations.