DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – An Iranian police officer has been killed in unrest in the restless southwest of the country amid ongoing protests over water shortages, state media reported on Wednesday, bringing the death toll in the unrest to at least two people.
Gunshots killed the officer in the town of Mahshar and another was shot in the leg, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The report blamed “rioters” for the murder, without giving details. The protests have already seen another man killed, according to Iranian media. In the past, Iran has blamed protesters for deaths amid the brutal crackdown by security forces.
There have been six days of continuous protests in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, home to ethnic Arabs who complain about discrimination against Iran’s Shia theocracy.
Water problems in the past have sent angry protesters to the streets in Iran. The country has been facing power outages for weeks now, in part because of what authorities are describing as a severe drought. Rainfall had declined by nearly 50% last year, leaving dams with dwindling water supplies.
“While nearly 5 million Iranians in Khuzestan do not have access to clean drinking water, Iran does not respect, protect and fulfill the right to water, which is inextricably linked to the right to the best possible state of health, ”said Human rights activists in Iran said.
The protests in Khuzestan come as Iran battles repeated waves of infections in the coronavirus pandemic and thousands of workers in its oil industry have launched strikes for better wages and conditions.
Iran’s economy has also struggled with US sanctions since then-President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull America out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, causing the currency’s value to plummet. of the Islamic Republic, the rial.