On the fifth day of Khuzestan people’s protests, known as the “thirsty uprising”, which began on Thursday, July 15, the number of protesting cities in the province increased to at least 20:
Veys, Ramhormoz, Susangerd, Hoveyzeh, Khorramshahr, Shaour, Mollasani, Karkheh, Abu Homeyzeh, Bandar Mahshahr, Chamran, Shadegan, Hamidiyeh, Kut Seyed Naeem, Shush, Abadan, Ahvaz, Bostan, Shooshtar, Kut Abdullah… were among those cities last night that witnessed protest rallies and demonstrations. Meanwhile, according to videos posted on social media, the most intense clashes between repressive forces and protesters took place in Ahvaz, near the city’s radio and television building (IRIB), near Alavi St/ Shelangabad neighborhood, southwest of the city.
Videos shared by citizen journalists show that the military used heavy weaponry against unarmed people defending their lives with rocks and clods. The exact number of people killed and injured in these clashes is not known. So far, the state media have only confirmed the deaths of two people, Mustafa Naimavi in Shadegan and Qassem Naseri (Khozayri) in Kut Abdullah, along with contradictory accounts of how the two citizens died during the peaceful protests in Khuzestan. But local sources report at least four deaths during the past five days of Khuzestan protests. HRANA, Human Rights Activists News Agency, also reported today that at least 18 people have been detained:
“8 people in Ahvaz with the names of Ali Ka’ab Al-Hai, Mohammad Sakhravi, Bassem Heydari, Hassan Saeedi, Abbas Savari, Amer Zuhairi, Hamoud Chenani, Hamoud Shamousi, 5 people in Shush identified as Khalid Mazra’e, Ali Mazra’e, Qassem Mazra’e, Faisal Mazra’e, Isa Mazra’e and 5 citizens in Khorramshahr named Mansour Soleimani, son of Yaber, Darem Soleimani, son of Hasoud, Abdolreza Soleimani, son of Yaber, Yarullah Soleimani and his son Ali Soleimani have been arrested by security agents.”
According to HRANA, the number of detainees of the recent protests is much higher than this number. The regime does not allow human rights organizations to operate legally. As a result, it is not possible for HRANA and other independent human rights activists to report or verify local sources’ reports independently.
“You have no right to shoot at people who have taken to the streets empty-handed and peacefully.”
Following the release of videos showing naked violence by the regime’s armed forces against unarmed and waterless people and the use of heavy weapons against the thirsty people of Khuzestan, Prince Reza Pahlavi wrote to “the body of the military and law enforcement forces of the country”:
“You have the responsibility to defend your innocent and thirsty compatriot against the anti-patriotic regime and its oppressive rations and mercenaries. Solidarity with the nation and living with dignity are much safer than slavery and servitude of criminals.”
Addressing the Iranian people, the prince called “solidarity and unity” the strongest weapon: “Now that Khuzestan has risen bravely, each and every one of us has the duty not to leave them alone. In this struggle, we continue to adhere to the important and key principle of non-violence. Our greatest and most powerful weapon is our countless population and our solidarity and unity. Know that no government can oppose the will of a united nation.”
The next morning, Tehran, Sadeghiyeh metro station, the slogans “Death to the Islamic Republic” and “Death to the principle of Velayat-e Faqih (Supreme Leader)”:
Islamic Republic officials in Khuzestan also reacted to the protests.
Khuzestan Governor, Qassem Soleimani-Dashtaki, an official who had previously denied the protests in Khorramshahr and Susangerd and called the videos of the protests posted on social media fake:
“When there is a problem, we should not think that the system has not done something, the system has really done great things […] We should thank all administrations and should not ignore them.”
Qassem Saedi, representative of Dasht-e-Azadegan in the Islamic Republic “parliament”:
“People stand by the regime and its ideals. […] Unfortunately, some of the Zionist servants and puppets used the atmosphere to infiltrate, especially to the ranks of the people, and while chanting destructive slogans and unconventional behaviors, they also shot at the people in two cases and killed two young men in Shadegan and Karun counties. At the time of the protests, law enforcement did not clash with protesters, and the shooting was carried out by the moles and terrorist groups. “
People responded to Saedi’s words in their own way:
Seyed Lafteh Ahmadnejad, representative of Khorramshahr in the Islamic Consultative Assembly:
“Some people label the protesters (anti-regime), which I must say you will not find a more loyal people to the “Supreme Leader” than the people of Khuzestan.”
Translation of this post by Sahar.