Tuesday night protestors in Iran took to the street in Baharestan township near Esfahan where they ripped and burned a banner of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the town square. In Kordkuy in Golestan province, and Eyvan-e Gharb in Ilam province they blocked roads into the towns.
In Baharestan, which has a population of nearly 50,000, protesters gathered in the town square and chanted slogans in solidarity with the people of Khuzestan whose protests over water shortages two weeks ago turned into protests against the government.
Protesters in the township chanted “We Don’t Want the Islamic Republic,” “Death to Khamenei,” and “We Don’t Want to Fight!” Some chanted “May Your Soul Rest In Peace Reza Shah,” a reference to the monarch who launched Iran’s modernization in the 20th century and was forced by the British to abdicate in 1941.
Protesters in the city of Esfahan, which like Khuzestan has serious water issues, held a protest rally Monday by the city’s dried-up river, Zayandeh Roud. There was a rally on July 22 in Shahin Shahr, with a population of about 180,000, in support of Khuzestan protesters.
Ghasem Saedi, a hardline lawmaker from Khuzestan province, said that the families of those who had died in Khuzestan would receive compensation. “The young men who were killed came to the street for peaceful protests but they were targeted by unknown people,” he said. “The [Supreme] National Security Council is planning to make compensation because they are saddened about the killing of the people.”
Although security forces have used live ammunition to confront and disperse protesters, the official government line is that people have been killed by “unknown” elements. Iranian officials made similar claims in the November 2019 protests when up to 1,500 protesters were killed, mostly by gunfire.
Hundreds are reported to have been arrested in Khuzestan, Tabriz, and Kermanshah and there is little news about their whereabouts or health condition. Officials have said some protesters have been released but there is no confirmation by independent sources.
Authorities have also switched broadband internet − which only a small minority of Iranians use – in Khuzestan to a tightly controlled intranet. In Tehran and other cities authorities have shut down mobile have internet temporarily in recent days when and where a protest breaks out.