MEK Iran: Regime Forces Open Fire on Villagers Protesting Drinking Water Shortages
On Saturday, May 23, regime security forces opened fire on residents in Khuzestan Province during a protest over water shortages in the village of Gheyzanieh.
Villagers in the coronavirus-stricken province gathered on the road connecting the cities of Ahvaz, Ramhormoz, and Omidiyeh to protest serious shortages of drinking water in their homes. Residents of Khuzestan Province are currently battling dust storms as well as the second wave of coronavirus infections. Saturday’s protest was a plea for life-saving basic services.
May 23 – Gheyzaniyeh, near Ahvaz, southwest #Iran
Locals blocked a road during their protests against the lack of running water in their homes. These harsh conditions are enforced on this population as the province is witnessing a major #coronavirus crisis. pic.twitter.com/6oC6SBrIpf
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) May 23, 2020
The regime responded to the villagers’ reasonable demands by using its resources to deploy security forces to suppress the protests. Instead of delivering drinking water to the residents, the suppressive forces opened fire on the protesters, wounding at least four.
The state-run IRNA news agency defended security forces and blamed the protesters for the violent crackdown in a wire report published on Saturday. “The police chief in Ahvaz said people in Gheyzanieh near Ahvaz protested their officials’ negligence regarding providing drinking water. They blocked the Ahvaz-Ramhormoz-Omidiyeh road and police units entered the scene to end the disruption,” the report read.
The report quoted Colonel Dalvand, the Ahvaz police chief, who claimed that the response was necessary. “After police units attempted to reopen the road the protesters began throwing stones and sticks at our agents. Two members of our police unit suffered head injuries,” he said. “The police used anti-riot plastic pellet guns. Two of the protesters suffered injuries,” he added, contradicting reports from eye-witnesses.
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) May 25, 2020
“New Escalations” of Coronavirus Infections
The regime’s latest act of suppression occurred as a new wave of coronavirus infections has created crisis conditions in Khuzestan Province. According to the latest reports from the MEK Iran, 3,390 people have died from the novel coronavirus in Khuzestan. The total number of deaths in Iran from coronavirus exceeds 44,300, according to an announcement made by the MEK on Monday afternoon. The regime has only confirmed 7,451 of these deaths, a number that has been scrutinized by its own officials.
Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpour acknowledged the severity of the situation in remarks published by the state-run Moj daily on Saturday. “Khuzestan Province remains a red area,” he said. “The number of cases is far higher than one percent of the entire population… More scientific testing is needed… In Iran, such studies have yet to be conducted. However, as the Health Minister said, the number of cases in our society has yet to reach the ten-percent mark,” Jahanpour added.
Saeid Namaki, the regime’s Minister of Health,
also discussed the increase in new infections on Saturday. He said, “We are witnessing new escalations of this illness in warmer climate provinces… The status quo is not good in Khuzestan Province (southwest Iran bordering southern Iraq) … We have had discussions with the governors of Khuzestan’s neighboring provinces, including Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari and Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed, and we have issued warnings about a new spread of the illness… There have been cases in Sistan & Baluchistan Province (southeast Iran), in the village of Najafabad near the city of Khash, and this sounded an alarm bell for us,” in remarks published by the state-run Hamshahri daily.
Khuzestan Province needs medical supplies and equipment, financial support, and clean drinking water. Instead, the regime is wasting valuable resources in a futile attempt to suppress another uprising. Four decades of suppression, incompetence, and corruption have led the people of Iran to repeatedly calls for the overthrow of the regime. It is telling that the regime thinks that it can prevent its demise with more of the same.