DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iranian police opened fire late Sunday at a water shortage protest in southwestern Iran, a video showed, the latest unrest after days of demonstrations that killed at least one person is.
Human rights activists in Iran’s Human Rights Activists News Agency video showed the shooting in Suzangard, which has been the center of demonstrations in Iran’s restive Khuzestan province.
A police officer fires a pistol into the air and at least one other shot can be heard in the footage. Riot police on motorcycles run around a corner, firing at protesters.
The video is in line with other Associated Press reporting of demonstrations in Khuzestan, home to ethnic Arabs who complain of discrimination by Iran’s Shia theocracy. The video also matches the known features of Susangard and the protest depicted took place at the site where other demonstrations have taken place in recent days.
On Sunday, the deputy governor in charge of Khuzestan province’s security affairs acknowledged that at least one person had died in the unrest. The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Valiollah Hayati as blaming “rioters” for the killing of a civilian in Khuzestan’s Shadegan city. Iran’s government has long held protesters responsible for the deaths during the protests in unrest, despite its history of bloody crackdowns.
Arab separatists have long worked in Khuzestan, which Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried to seize in the 1980s in a war with Iran. He has blown up oil pipelines in the past and has been blamed for attacks, including a 2018 attack on a military parade that killed at least 25 people in Ahvaz.
Water concerns have sent anger in the past Protesters on the streets in Iran. The country has now suffered weeks of rolling blackouts in what officials describe as a severe drought. Last year the rainfall had decreased by about 50%, reducing the water supply to the dams.
Iran’s economy It has also struggled under US sanctions—President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw the US from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers crashed the value of the Islamic Republic’s currency, the rial.