Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, May 27, 2020—Just before the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, a group of residents of Gheizaniyeh in Ahwaz who were suffering from water shortage held a protest rally and closed the Ahwaz-Mahshahr road. As usual, Iranian security forces responded with force, firing tear gas and targeting protesters with bullets which led to the injury of several demonstrators including a small child.
This is not the first time that the locals of Gheizaniyeh demonstrate. Along with 85 other villages, they constitute a 30,000-strong population who have been suffering from water shortages for several years. These people have protested on many occasions and authorities have promised to solve their problems many times, but the government has not even fulfilled one those promises.
Gheizaniyeh is rich in natural resources. There are about 750 oil wells in this region, which has earned it the name “paradise of oil.” It accounts for a significant part of Iran's oil revenues. But the share of the people of Gheizaniyeh of this great wealth is poverty, unemployment, and water shortage. The situation has caused widespread outrage toward the regime throughout the region. In this regard, even the regime’s official news agency IRNA reported: “As the pressure mounted on the youths of this region, they found their solution in non-peaceful protests.”
This time, the reaction of the officials and the highest leaders of the regime to the protests of the people of Gheizaniyeh was different, and officials were quick to try to tone down the tensions. This does not mean that regime authorities took effective measures to meet the needs of the people. But their reluctance to confront the people shows the regime’s fear of the protests spreading to other regions.
The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sent his representative and Friday prayer Imam of Ahvaz to console those who were injured in the demonstrations due to the violence of the regime's suppressive forces. Also, regime president Hassan Rouhani sent his Energy Minister and the governor of Khuzestan to “take the necessary measures to solve this problem as soon as possible... and provide the necessary drinking water in the summer."
Following this order, the regime’s governor in Khuzestan apologized from the people and claimed that in two weeks’ time, the issue of Gheizaniyeh water will be resolved.
These reactions from the regime's top leaders (Khamenei and Rouhani) and the governor's apology and local officials are completely unprecedented. Only a few months ago, the regime brutally murdered 1,500 civilians who were protesting to the increase of gasoline prices. Of course, it is a joke to think that the regime's officials are ashamed of all the oppression and injustice against the deprived people and are trying to make things right.
It is clear that the nature of this regime is intertwined with corruption and looting, and that this regime neither wants and nor can take effective steps to respond to the demands of the people. Whatever action is taken is only to prevent the rise and spread of protests in other parts of the province, such as Shadegan, Mahshahr, Shush, and Hafteh Tappeh and other areas of Ahvaz. It is worth reminding that each of these cities have had their fair share of dealing with the brutality of the regime’s security forces, and they are all potential hotspots for the resurgence of the people’s anger toward the regime.
The situation of the society is so tense that the state-run daily Resalat wrote: “The people of Khuzestan are fed up from our actions. We distance the people from the establishment. There’s only need for a simple excuse, then the match will set fire to the powder keg and everything will come to an end.”
The fierce atmosphere that is raging across the country has terrified the ruling mullahs. Because in the current situation, the possibility of the fire of protest spreading from one region to another is very possible. One of the regime’s political analysts warned about the dire situation, especially the widening gap between the poor and deprived, and the small minority living in mythical palaces and said: “This hatred is concentrating… We can’t do wrong things all the time and ask the people to bear… The Shah’s mansion is nothing compared to what these people are building. One day, the poor will set fire to these buildings.”
But the main question that remains is, to what extent can the mullahs’ regime prevent the outburst of anger and hatred of the hungry, looted, and oppressed people through repression or all sorts of psychological maneuvers and deceptive promises?