Protesters in Kazeroon also chanted antigovernment slogans. One video shows protesters in April turning the decades-old slogan “Death to America” on its head by chanting “Our enemy’s right here; they lie and say it’s America!”
In an attempt to de-escalate tensions, the Interior Ministry said any administrative changes in Kazeroon would take “people’s concerns” into consideration and would address the existing plan’s “deficiencies.”
The ministry has also warned, however, that “whomever disturbs public peace and order will be firmly dealt with.”
Protesters have demanded the plan be completely abandoned.
In the days since the May 16 protest, photos and video shared on social media have depicted a heavy presence of police and paramilitary forces across Kazeroon. Locals have complained that the city has lost access to the Internet.
The protests have ignited a bitter dispute between lawmaker Rezazadeh and Kazeroon’s Friday Prayer leader, mid-ranking cleric Mohammad Khorsand.
Khorsand fiercely opposes any changes to the boundaries of the city and initially supported the protesters.
Rezazadeh accused the local Friday Prayer leader of “provoking people to rebellion.” In remarks quoted by Iran’s hard-line Tasnim news agency, he also denied that the proposed changes were his idea, insisting that “the plan to divide Kazeroon has been on the table for 25 years. The city’s former lawmakers repeatedly promised to implement the plan but never fulfilled it.”
Meanwhile, Bahram Parseinejad, a reformist lawmaker representing Shiraz — the capital of Fars Province, where Kazroon is located — said the real cause behind the recent rallies is people’s dissatisfaction with the management of the country.
The people of Kazeroon, he was quoted as saying by BBC Persian, were using the controversial proposal as “an excuse” to “protest poverty, hardship, corruption, and unemployment.”
“Like many other Iranians across the country,” he added, “citizens of Kazeroon are also trying to force authorities to listen to their concerns and demands.”
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights