During the second day of the protests in Khuzestan province, on the evening of Friday, July 16, in the city of Shadegan, the repressive forces shot and killed a young protester. The reports of the young protester’s death was confirmed by the regime’s official news agency, IRNA. The agency quoting Omid Sabripoor, the acting governor of Shadegan, in an incomplete and contradictory report, without mentioning the details of the murder, called the thirsty and protesting citizens of Khuzestan, “opportunists and rioters”, as is the long tradition of the regime’s propaganda machine. He stated, they were “shooting in the air” and as a result of this “shooting in the air”, one of the protesters who was walking on the dry and thirsty grounds of Khuzestan was killed! Of course, IRNA has not written anything about the identity of this Shadegan’s “protester on the ground”. But on social media, the name and image of this young protester from Shadegan, based to local reports, were circulated before the state media reported: Mustafa Naeemavi, 26, a resident of Abbasabad Fallahieh, Shadegan. In the early hours of the morning of Saturday, July 17, 2021, he was directly shot by two bullets to his “chest area” and killed, not by “shooting in the air”, but direct shots at the protesters. The following photo on social media together with this information is attributed to Mustafa Naeemavi:
There have also been reports on social media of a child being injured by gunfire and tear gas fired by police in the same area.
During the last two days, people have gathered and protested against water shortage in Khuzestan, in most parts and cities of the province. HRANA reported the continuation of the mass protests and their spread in at least 12 cities of the province: Ahvaz, Susangerd, Hoveyzeh, Khorramshahr, Hamidiyeh, Abadan, Mahshahr, Bostan, Abu Homeyzeh, Shadegan, Kut Abdullah and Mollasani.
Protesters against the regime’s destructive environmental policies blocked Ahvaz transit routes from the north in the Abdul Khan and Seyed Abbas areas on the Ahvaz-Shush Road and from the south in the Cantex / Kut Abdullah areas. In the videos published by citizen journalists, the sound of gunfire and shooting can be heard in several locations.
In the first reaction, the governor of Khuzestan, Qassem Soleimani-Dashtaki, denied the demonstrations in Susangard and Khorramshahr by calling the reports of citizen journalists and numerous pictures and videos of the protests on social media as false and fake. The governor, however, did not know that the regime’s official news channels had already confirmed the protests in Susangard and Khorramshahr, as well as in other cities and regions of Khuzestan. The people, however, reacted to Mr. Governor’s blatant lies in their own way on last night’s protests:
The chairman of the Khuzestan Representative Assembly of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Islamic Republic “parliament”), Abdullah Izadpanah, announced yesterday during a meeting of the “Crisis Management Committee”: “Khuzestan is being destroyed.” He described the situation in Khuzestan as “extremely vital to security”: “Khuzestan’s security is now in jeopardy” and since “Khuzestan is an important province for the country, Khuzestan’s insecurity means lack of security in the entire country.” From this regime official’s security viewpoint, it can be concluded, it is not Khuzestan that is being destroyed, but the Islamic Republic whose security depends on Khuzestan which is now “in jeopardy.”
Today, the representative of the Supreme Leader in Khuzestan, Seyyed Mohammad Nabi Mousavifard, outlined the government’s solution to the water crisis and the drying up of the Hour al-Azim wetland in a much more explicit way: “It cannot be said in the Khuzestan Crisis Management Committee that we’d determine the damages to these people. Now all foreign media are focused on Khuzestan. We have to do something about this situation.” The representative of the Supreme Leader considers that the main problem is not shortage of water, but “the focus of foreign media on Khuzestan”, which dealing with it is a priority.
Therefore, what we will see in the coming days and in continuation of the protests in Khuzestan will be nothing but what we remember from the previous protests: the regime’s heavy propaganda, disruption of the information network and Internet, brutal repression and killings, mass detentions, calling protests “riots”, attributing people’s protests to counter-revolutionary elements abroad and dissident media, broadcasting forced confessions and disinformation campaigns and… repeating crimes, just like November 2019.
Translation of this post by Sahar.