Protests in Iran Over Corruption Amid Drought

Iranian farmers in the city of Isfahan are protesting for the second day in a row over water shortages expected to lead to a cut-off by early May, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Thursday.

Naeen Farms copyFarms in Nain, Isfahan province, Iran. (Source: ninara, CC BY 2.0)The farmers claim the drought is being exacerbated by decades-long mismanagement of resources and corruption in local government structures. Last month, local authorities diverted a river in the town of Varzaneh to the neighbouring province for industrial use after allegedly receiving a bribe.

According to VOA News, a lawmaker in parliament, Hasan Kamran, was quoted by the Iranian state news agency saying that five million people in Isfahan province will cease to have tap water by the end of May. The rest of the provinces will most likely run out by July.

Protests have taken place all over Iran in the last few months, but the situation has escalated as a mass drought is threatening the livelihoods of rural populations. According to the Iran Meteorological Organization, 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought to some degree.

Riot police are present among the crowds of protesters and have warned the masses about anti-government chants and possible detentions. No arrests have been reported thus far.