A clash between protesters demanding drinking water and security forces in southwestern Iran has turned into the hottest issue on Iranian social media.
On Saturday May 23, security forces fired tear gas and “plastic bullets” into a crowd of residents in Gheizaniyeh in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province who were protesting lack of drinking water.
According to the web monitoring website Best Farsi, #Gheizaniyeh was the top hashtag in Persian Twitter Monday morning May 25.
Many have reacted to the news of clashes attributing the shortage of fresh water in the area to the government’s incompetence. Khuzestan is rich with rivers and water reservoirs and was inundated by floods last year.
The clash between police and protesters started after demonstrators blocked the road between Ahvaz and Mahshahr, another city in the province which was the scene of a massacre during the nationwide protests in Iran in November 2019.
Leila, a twitter user, wrote that the situation of water supply in Khuzestan never returned to normal after the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Leila was responding to a tweet by Dariush Zand who posted a picture of the brown liquid that came out of the water tap in his house. Zand wrote that “Except Andimishk which has a decent water supply from the nearby Dez Dam, no other place in Khuzestan Province has access to proper drinking water.”
What has enraged Khuzestanis is the fact that their province has most of Iran’s oil and provides most of the hard currency the Islamic Republic needs to pay for tens of billions of imports and pursue its costly foreign policy.
What has enraged Khuzestanis is the fact that their province has most of Iran’s oil.