Thousands of people gathered in Isfahan on Friday to condemn the drying up of a iconic river in central Iran as part of a drought in Iran.
Hundreds of farmers have already protested several times on the banks of the Zayandeh-roud River since November 9, but this is the first time so many people have rallied in the country’s third city.
“Thousands of people from Isfahan, farmers in the Eastern and Western Provinces, came together with one important demand (…): that the river should run water.“A television reporter in Isfahan said he was broadcasting live pictures of the protesters.
“River water has been stolen for 20 years“And”The water must come back“According to these pictures, the protesters chanted.
“The eastern part of Isfahan has been turned into a desert“,”Our water is hostageAccording to photos published in the Iranian media, we can still read the signs.
Protesters were on both sides of the Kajo Bridge, under which the river once flowed, as well as in this 17th century structure.
The Zayandeh-roud, which passes under the famous Si-o-Sepol Bridge in Isfahan, has been dry since 2000, except for a few short periods. If drought is considered a cause, farmers are protesting the authorities’ diversion of the river to supply it to the neighboring province of Yas, which will accelerate the drying up.
“There has been no option for many years to solve the problems of this important riverThe TV journalist lamented on Friday.
In the face of discontent, the government promised to resolve the issue.
“I have directed the Ministers of Energy and Agriculture to take immediate action to resolve this issueFirst Vice President Mohammad Mokbar said on television. Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrabian apologized for “not being able to provide all the farmers with the water they need for their cultures.”The Ministries of Industry and Agriculture will work with the Ministry of Energy to mitigate the damage caused to some farmers, unfortunately.“, He added.
On November 11, President Ibrahim Raisi promised to resolve the water crisis in Isfahan, Yast and Semnan in the same region. On Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the topic.The problem of the country“, Not to mention the protests.”The water problem will become the biggest problem in the world in the future.“, He warned, according to a statement posted on his official website.
Drought lasting for many years
Isfahan is one of the major tourist destinations in Iran. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, located in the historic center of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The arid country of Iran has been experiencing prolonged drought for years, resulting in regular flooding due to soil hardness and more or less violent rainfall.
In mid-July, protests against water shortages took place in Khuzestan and Lorestan (southwestern) provinces, killing four people, the official media said. “People have expressed their dissatisfaction and we cannot blame them“, Then Mr. Khamenei announced, while urging the protesters not to play the game of” enemies “of the country, according to him, the situation can be exploited.
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