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Isfahan, the fire that re-emerges from under the ashes

Protests by Isfahan farmers, Jan. 2019
Protests by Isfahan farmers, Jan. 2019

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Jan. 4, 2019 - For several days, the farmers of Isfahan province and the areas surrounding the Zayandeh Rud River have been coming to Isfahan city to protest against the dictatorship that has trampled their most basic rights and stolen the vital water they need for their daily lives.

After giving the government a 10-day opportunity to respond to their demands, the farmers gathered at the famous Pol-e Khaju Bridge to hold demonstrations.

The state-run Iran Daily, which is affiliated with the government of Hassan Rouhani, described the demonstration as such: “The farmers declared that they still don’t have the water they need for their autumn cultivation and complained about continuous [unmet] promises by officials to solve their problems.”

Without stating the number of protesters, the report says, “The gathering was so large that the riverbed of Zayandeh Rud could not be seen beyond Pol-e Khaju and the crowd of farmers and their banners had filled the space. The protesters, who came from the eastern reaches of Isfahan… only wanted their rights to water to irrigate their thirsty lands.”

What this state-run news outlet did not mention were the “death to dictator” slogans chanted by the farmers and the violent behavior of the Iranian regime’s security forces, and the confrontation that ensued between the underprivileged farmers of Isfahan and the repressive forces of the Iranian regime.

The rage of the farmers of Isfahan is intensifying every day, and the Iranian regime and its officials are becoming more and more terrified. In tandem with the protests of Isfahan’s farmers, Hassan Kamran, one of the members of the Iranian regime’s parliament from Isfahan, warned that the province is like a fire buried under ashes that can re-emerge at any moment. “Why are you doing this? Why? One of the cities of Isfahan has become like fire under ashes. The other day, eight of their people were killed. Anything that happens in the future will be laid at the feet of [parliament speaker Ali] Larijani and the government,” Kamran said.

Kamran further criticized the government for trying to frame the situation as a security issue while the farmers’ problem is that they’re hungry and their most basic rights have been trampled by the government.

What’s noteworthy is that this regime official himself has been involved in plundering the wealth of the farmers and suppressing the people. Now, fearing the rising rage of the farmers of Isfahan, Kamran is shedding crocodile tears for the people and trying to distance himself from the government's destructive policies.

The resistance of the people and farmers of Isfahan has expanded to the degree that the protesters are often clashing with security forces.

On Wednesday, the protesting farmers confronted the riot police that had been dispatched to suppress their demonstrations. Security forces fired bird shots to frighten the protesters, but the farmers stood their ground and chanted “Cowards! Cowards!”

Countless farmers in Isfahan, Khuzestan, Charmahal Bakhtiari, and Kohkiluyeh Buyerahmad and other provinces have been hit hardly by the destructive and corrupt policies and practices of the Iranian regime, which has disrupted the water resources in their districts.

The government and the IRGC have engaged in excessive dam and water channel creation projects in these provinces, causing damage to the ecosystem and cutting the farmers’ access to water.

Having received no response from the government for years, the farmers of these regions have taken to the streets as their last resort to reclaim their most basic rights. The slogans the farmers are chanting in their demonstrations are increasingly aimed at government officials and the regime in its entirety. The farmers have no illusion that the regime bears the entire blame of the current situation they’re enduring.

Some of the slogans the farmers shout during protests include, “Farmers will die but won’t give in to disgrace” and “death to dictator.” On several reprises, the farmers have attended Friday prayers, where senior officials give sermons about the regime’s policies and opinions, only to turn their backs to the Friday prayer leader and chant, “Back to the enemy, facing the nation.” The farmers of Isfahan also coined the slogan, “The enemy is right here, [the regime] is lying that it’s the U.S.” in their protests last year. The Iranian regime has tried to lay the blame for the country’s economic woes on foreign states. But for the people of Iran, who have been living under the tyranny of the mullahs for 40 years, there’s no question as to who is the real culprit.

By continuing their protests and not shying away from the suppressive forces of the Iranian regime, the farmers of Isfahan have shown that like most other segments of the Iranian society, they’re fed up with the ruling mullahs and want them gone.

Isfahan is not the only fire simmering under the ashes of repression. Everywhere across Iran, the dormant volcanoes of rage of the Iranian people are boiling, and any day, these volcanoes might erupt.