Local Police in Iran Admit Killing Farmer at Protest Against Water Shortages
Police in the Iranian city of Kazeroon have admitted killing a farmer at a local protest against water resources in the region.
“After several warnings to the crowd to disperse, the police opened fire into the air with pellet guns and in the midst of it, one of the unruly individuals identified as ‘I. A.’ was wounded in the neck area and transferred to the hospital where he died,” said police chief Col. Mohammad Ebadinejad on July 12, 2018.
The exact number of fatalities was previously unconfirmed due to the authorities’ unwillingness to speak publicly about the cases.
According to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ebadinejad’s statement was issued through the public affairs office of the military governor in Fars Province.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that the victim, Iman Ahmadi, lived in the nearby village of Jahadabad. Two other farmers were also wounded by police fire but their names have not been released.
The demonstrators, mostly farmers, were protesting against local authorities for disconnecting their water pumps from Shapour River, which irrigates local farms and orchards.
Officials claim the pumps are causing water shortages 65 miles south in Dashtesan County, including the city of Borazjan, in neighboring Bushehr Province, according to IRNA.
According to the Iran Meteorological Organization, around 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought to some degree.
Following the July 12 protest, local roads were blocked and several farmers from the villages of Jahadabad and Talkoushk were taken into custody.
In May 2018 at least two people were reportedly killed and several wounded after police in Kazeroon opened fire on a protest against the planned partition of the city, which would have turned a water-rich neighborhood into a new city.