The problems stem from the Regime’s long-standing policy of transferring water from south-west Iran to central Iran in order to develop the city of Isfahan.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have built 90 dams and several tunnels on the Karun river in Ahwaz to provide water for Isfahan’s agricultural and steel industries. This is even illegal under the Iran regime’s own Constitution, but the Regime has done so, causing a marshland drought, destroying the livelihood of thousands of Arabs, and causing the displacement of thousands of villagers.
Earlier this month, Arab farmers protested the dire situation in front of the Ministry of Water and Energy in Khorramshahr, Abadan and Bawi. They chanted slogans like “this city does not have an owner, Abadan has no water”, and “we do not want useless officials”.
Iranian officials have sought to blame climate change for the drought and, while that is certainly a massive problem, the Iranian Regime has only made the situation worse through four decades of water mismanagement. Their policies not only affect the ethnic Arabs who live in Khuzestan, but also the Bakhtiari people, who lived in the Zagros mountains and were forced to sell their lands at heavily reduced rates to the government.
Essentially, the Iranian Regime has been depriving ethnic minorities of water for a long time, even when the water was most plentiful in their province. Not only that, but the Regime has also stolen the money from oil and gas exports that should rightfully be Khuzestan’s and left the region woefully underdeveloped.
The war over water in Iran is only growing by the day and the Regime is not equipped to handle it. The only real option to prevent a new wave of refugees from Iran is regime change.
Regime change, which is the wish of the Iranian people, would bring about a democratic government that prioritises human rights and championed policies that would reduce the impact of climate change. This will be one of the main discussions at the Free Iran gathering on Saturday in Paris.