A conservative legislator in Iran’s parliament revealed on Sunday that police have arrested 129 people so far during protests at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and outside the country’s Parliament over the past week. Protests continued into Monday as the nation’s water supplies dried up.
Mohammad Javad Kolivand reportedly told the parliament’s news website that 129 people were detained during the spontaneous protests, where Iranians called for regime change over the country’s economic woes and the rial reaching a record low of 90,000 rials to the U.S. dollar.
Protesters chanted “Death to Palestine!”, “Death to Khamenei!”, and “We don’t want the dollar to be at 100,000 rials,” over the steep decline of Iran’s currency to a record low against the U.S. dollar. The protestors also expressed opposition to the Iranian regime’s adventurism in countries like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and its support for the Hamas terrorist organization.
Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s judiciary head, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, warned the public that anyone who “disrupts” Iran’s “economic security” by protesting could be put to death.
Radio Farda reported that Tehran’s prosecutor-general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said on Sunday that those arrested during recent protests at the Grand Bazaar will not be released until their trial. Many Iranian prisoners do not receive a fair trial.
Iran’s Commander of Police reportedly said, “Security forces had to break windows to arrest suspects as firemen are forced to break into a place to control a blaze” that took place during the Grand Bazaar protests.
Kolivand reportedly maintained, “Legislators and the people should understand that the police has to use all means when it comes to internal security and, fortunately, in the recent gatherings, the police showed its power by ensuring the people’s and merchants’ order and security.”
Iranians started protesting over poor water quality on Saturday in a western district of Abadan and reportedly threw projectiles and set fire to trash bins and a vehicle.
Iranian media has not yet mentioned any deaths in the country over the water shortages. However, the Investigative Project on Terrorism revealed on Monday that “security forces reportedly kill[ed] four protesters Saturday night. … The city of Khorramshahr, in southwest Iran near the Iraqi border, has been without drinkable water for more than two weeks.”
Kharramshahar is a predominantly Arab city. Iran’s Arab population has been mistreated for decades, including being arrested and tortured by the Iranian regime for speaking Arabic, not being permitted to speak Arabic in schools, and being prohibited from wearing traditional Ahwazi attire in the region.
According to Radio Farda, an Iranian Interior Ministry official acknowledged on Sunday that 11 demonstrators were wounded in Khorramshahr after security forces opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators protesting to the shortage and poor quality of drinking water.
The Associated Press referenced video that appears to show Iranian security forces shooting at protesters in Khorramshahr early Sunday.
“Heavy rifle and machine gun fire rang out, with one video showing demonstrators dragging away a man who couldn’t walk,” the AP reported. “Another video appeared to show a man carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle on the back of a motorcycle near protesters.”
During the protests, Iranians and Arabs carried empty plastic water containers while chanting slogans in Persian and Arabic including, “We do not need inefficient managers,” “In the name of religion, they [the Iranian authorities] plundered us,” and “Get lost, governor!”
In the neighboring city of Abadan, residents have complained about the quality of water they are able to access. “Our water is not only overly salty, but it has an unpleasant smell, making it undrinkable,” an Abadan resident told Radio Farda on Friday. “People are forced to buy water that is also highly salty.”
CNN reported that “Iran’s interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state media on Sunday that one person was hospitalized with injuries and there were no fatalities.”
In June 2016, a senior Iranian cleric from Isfahan said “immorality” among young Iranian women, stemming from dressing “improperly” has caused the city’s rivers and dams in Iran to run dry.