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Iran: Locals in Gheyzanieh continue protesting lack of drinking water

Locals of the town of Chumeh Seyed Alavan in Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran rallying outside an Electricity Department building
Locals of the town of Chumeh Seyed Alavan in Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran rallying outside an Electricity Department building

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, May 26, 2020—Locals of Gheyzanieh district near Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran, held a rally on Monday protesting severe water shortages at a time when the novel coronavirus and excruciating heat are literally threatening people’s lives.

“We are here as locals of the Greater Gheyzanieh area. There are people here from nearly 36 districts. We are all thirsty,” one of the protesting locals said.

On Saturday, May 23, people in the town of Gheyzanieh blocked the road linking the two major cities of Ahvaz and Mahshahr, protesting to severe water shortages. Officials dispatched oppressive security forces that resorted to using tear gas and opened fire on the protesters and injuring several, including a child.

Even the regime’s official news agency acknowledged the locals’ severe conditions, indicating that there are days where residents of this area have no water. The irony is that this particular portion of Khuzestan Province is home to nearly 600 oil rigs that provide a significant portion of Iran’s oil revenues.

On Monday, May 25, the people of Gheyzanieh took their rally to a local Electricity Department building responsible for pumping water to various areas across the town. The governor of Khuzestan Province has provided hollow pledges that locals in Gheyzanieh are not accepting and describing as meaningless.

“They are lying about the water issue. They’re lying and then they describe us as Wahabis. We just want what is rightfully ours, but they describe us as Wahabis and say we are pursuing political objectives. They can do nothing but resort to attempts aimed at tarnishing our image,” the man said.

Another local said, “We are literally thirsty for water. They are obligated to provide it. They have written letters but to no use. Listen to me, any promises that [officials] provide, its nothing but lies. Don’t believe them.”

This video was posted four years ago from Gheyzanieh. Even then the locals were complaining about many basic shortages. “They take our oil and gas, but they don’t even hire us to work in the sites. We have no electricity, no gas, no water, nothing… The locals are only provided water once every four days. Who should we voice our pains to? Are we not Iranian?”

On Sunday, May 24, the locals of the Chumeh Seyed Alavan near the city of Shadegan in Khuzestan Province also held a rally protesting electricity shortages.

“Who should we take our complaint to? We haven’t had any electricity since Saturday. Each time we call they say the electricity will be back in a bit,” one local complained. “For a while, they say there are no electricity transformers, later they said they don’t have the necessary equipment… shouldn’t the Electricity Department have prepared itself for such circumstances? Shouldn’t there be an official able to respond to our questions?”