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US “deeply concerned” after Iranian crackdown on water shortage protests

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The United States has expressed deep concern after Iranian security forces cracked down on protesters protesting over crippling water shortages.

On November 26, security forces fired tear gas at protesters throwing stones as some 500 people gathered on the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River, which runs through the town of Isfahan.

Hassan Karami, an Iranian police general, said on November 27 that the police arrested 67 of the main actors and agitators of the protest. Karami added that between 2,000 and 3,000 “rioters” took part in the November 26 demonstration in Isfahan, some 400 kilometers south of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

“Deeply concerned about the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters,” State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted. “The Iranian people have the right to voice their frustrations and hold their government to account.

The riverbed has been the scene of protests against water shortages since November 9, as farmers and others gathered there from across the region.

Although the region is experiencing severe drought, many people accuse authorities of diverting water to neighboring Yazd province, which has also been affected.

The largest protest, involving thousands of protesters, took place on November 19.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni has said the water crisis is a top priority for the government.

According to AFP and Fars reports

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