Iranian police fire tear gas at protesters demanding response to drought

Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people in a central Iranian city who were protesting to demand government action over a drought, media reported Friday.

Some videos on social media showed police officers and protesters clash in the dry riverbed of the Zayandehrud River. The video corresponded to known features of the area, although original posters of the material from The Associated Press could not be immediately obtained. Other videos showed similar unrest in the surrounding streets of Isfahan.

The Iranian semi-official Fars news agency said a heavy force had ended the gathering of about 500 people in Isfahan. In a separate report by the semi-official Tasnim agency, unknown perpetrators damaged a pipeline that transports water from Isfahan to other provinces on Thursday evening.

Farmers reportedly ended a nearly week-long protest in the region on Thursday after authorities promised to compensate them for losses in drought-stricken areas in central Iran.

Drought has been a problem in Iran for about 30 years, but has gotten worse over the past decade, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The Iranian Meteorological Organization says an estimated 97% of the country is currently experiencing some drought.

The agricultural area around Isfahan was once well supplied by the Zayandehrud River, but nearby factories have increasingly benefited from it over the years. The river once flowed under historic bridges in downtown Isfahan, but is now a barren stretch of dirt.

In 2012, farmers clashed with police in a town in Isfahan province. In the process, a water pipe broke that carried around 50 million cubic meters of water to a neighboring province every year. Similar protests have continued sporadically since then.

Give a Hanukkah gift that enlightens

Here is a Hanukkah gift that will bring knowledge and insight about Israel and the Jewish people.

A gift membership to the Times of Israel Community entitles your recipient to a discounted special price for a whole year.

Find out more Find out more Are you already a member? Log in to no longer see this

You are serious We appreciate that!

That is why we come to work every day – to give discerning readers like you indispensable coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news agencies, we haven’t set up a paywall. However, because the journalism we conduct is costly, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to join us and support our work The Times of Israel Community.

For only $ 6 a month, you can support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as access to exclusive content only available to members of the Times of Israel community.

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to no longer see this

Leave a Comment