Qahdarijan is agricultural land. The city’s economy depends on agriculture. The loss of the river, Zayanderud, the largest river in central Iran, had brought poverty to the area. Isfahan farmers have been gathering over the past few weeks to protest to the water shortage and the violation of their water rights.
The strain from drought has been worsened by the growing number of factories that use up large amounts of water. Diversion of water to other regions has made the situation bad, as well. In July, an Isfahan environmental activist said, “The water cycle has been annihilated. The entire water of the river has been allocated to industry.”
A representative from the city of Falavarjan spoke to ILNA state-run News Agency about the impact of the water shortageon the people of Qahdarijan, where major clashes and protests during the January unrest occurred.
“The city of Falavarjan has about 270 thousand inhabitants and has three districts and most of the people work in the agricultural sector. I don’t exaggerate when I say that 90% of the people in Qahdarijan are engaged in all sorts of agricultural-related jobs.” He added, “Some the people who were once wealthy, are currently so deprived and poverty stricken that they are covered by relief foundations such as the Emdad Foundation.”
He explained in his interview, “Many of them are retired farmers who have large families and many children and relatives, and have no other source of income.”
He asked, “If this is not a catastrophe then what is it?”
All of the people, especially those with water rights should have equal access to the Zayanderud River. As the livelihood of farmers depends on water, perhaps they are more entitled, added the Falavarjan representative. “When a person has problems with his livelihood, he suffers very much. Unfortunately, at the moment, most people are unemployed and do not have an income in Qahdarijan.”
The representative told the Isfahan Islamic Council that the people were so dependent on water that sometimes they cried out in desperation.“The farmers say kill us or throw us out of Iran.
Are we not as farmers’ part of the people of this country, they ask,” he said. He said that the farmers only want justice in the distribution of water. “Unfortunately, the Ministry of Energy does not take into consideration the approved decisions of the Supreme Water Council and ignores farmers,” he said, and warned that the protests may turn political.
“If officials cannot handle the demands of the protesters, they should know that these protests and demands may be exploited by the enemies of the Islamic Republic,” he said.
According to reports, farmers in Varzaneh, Shatur, and Ziar, other cities in Isfahan Province gathered on Thursday to protest to scarcity of water and lack of access to water resources, among other demands. Isfahan farmers staged similar protests and demonstrations that lasted for more than two months at the beginning of the year.
This protest against the corruption of the Iranian government, is not the first one, but part of the growing anger of the people for the regime.