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Iran water protests: at least three killed in protests over shortages

The protests started in the southwest of Khuzestan province and spread to the nearby town of Aligoodarz in western Lorestan province.

Authorities attribute Aligoordarz’s death to “suspicious bullets fired by strangers who entered peaceful protesters,” state media said.

People have been protesting for more than a week over water shortages during Iran’s worst drought in more than half a century that has affected households, agriculture, livestock and led to blackouts .

According to two independent sources from the oil province of Khuzestan, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, the actual number of people killed in more than a week of protests is higher than officially reported.

A witness, who was participating in a protest in Khuzestan province, told CNN that people were shot dead by riot police and security officers, and that a strong security presence remained in Khuzestan on Saturday.

The dissident human rights activists’ news agency (HRANA) reported on Saturday that at least 10 people have died in the protests and an unknown number have been injured.

At least 102 people have been arrested in the past 10 nights in 30 towns and villages across Iran, according to HRANA.

Several videos uploaded by social media users last week showed security forces using tear gas to disperse protesters, with another video on social media showing activists rallying outside Tehran’s interior ministry to express their support for the demonstrators in Khuzestan.

“We call on the police not to harm the demonstrators who demand (for) access to water,” a prominent activist, Narges Mohammadi, said in the video.

Security forces have stepped up their presence in Tehran, where in the capital’s Azadi Square, riot police have been seen parked with armored vehicles.

Iran’s economy has been crippled in part by the sanctions imposed mainly on its oil industry by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, as well as by the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers, including thousands in the key energy sector, and retirees protested for months, with growing discontent over mismanagement, high unemployment and an inflation rate of over 50%.

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