Protesters angry over water shortages marched through streets in an oil-rich, restive province in southwestern Iran, July 16, 2021. (Supplied)

July 22, 2021

Groups of Iranian artists and several independent trade unions have expressed support for the ongoing protests in Khuzestan Province and declared their solidarity with the people. At least six protesters have been killed since July 15. Meanwhile, protests have spread to more cities in Iran’s southwest.

The coordination council of Iranian teachers’ trade unions has said in a statement: “The rulers have always tried to attribute protests to foreign influence. But the widespread protests during these days are against water shortage and the government’s violent crackdown on the protesters.” The statement further charged that “suppression is the rulers’ routine response to protests.”

Meanwhile, the statement stressed that protests will not stop and suppression cannot slow down their momentum.” The coordination council of Iranian teachers’ trade unions called on the government to stop use of force against protesters once and for all and reiterated that suppression and “naked violence” against protesters cannot stop the demonstrations.

In another development, the Telegram channel of United Students published a statement by student organizations about the protests in Khuzestan. The statement charged that “The Iranian government, which is unable to resolve any crisis, creates new crises by using weapons against the people.” The use of force will put an end to the regime’s legitimacy, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the trade union of Tehran’s bus company condemned the use of weapons and tear gas canisters against peaceful demonstrators. The Iranian Teachers’ Organization, The Pensioners’ Unity Group, several cultural and civil rights activists also issued similar statements during the past few days expressing their solidarity with the people of Khouzestan.

The statement by civil rights activists reiterated that “what is happening in Khuzestan is the outcome of an inefficient structure plagued by systematic corruption, wrong policies and coercive management.” The statement said that all this has led to widespread inequality, discrimination, poverty and agony of the people of Iran.”

The statement stressed that the protests are not the outcome of a conspiracy and provocation by foreigners. They are the result of accumulated systematic crises in Iran’s governance.”

Meanwhile, in a message from a prison outside Tehran, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh said that the people of Khuzestan are demanding their essential rights. “They do not have water and have been fighting with problems that have made life difficult for them for years.” Expressing sympathy with the family members of the young men killed during the crackdown on protesters, she called on the police and other security forces to stop shooting at fellow Iranians.

In a spectacular move Wednesday morning, more than 330 Iranian filmmakers and film industry activists gathered in front of “The Artists House” in Tehran and read out a statement “against oppression, violence and discrimination” saying that a bunch of “thieves who have plundered Iran’s environment and cultural resources are not fit to run the affairs of the state and that the continuation of the current situation will lead to Iran’s destruction.”

The filmmakers included well known personalities such as Massoud Kimiai, Abdolreza Kahani, Ali Mosaffa and popular actors including Hamed Behdad, Pegah Ahangarani and Navid Mohammadzadeh. Iranian filmmakers living abroad, including Bahman Qobadi also expressed their solidarity with the people of Khuzestan.

Earlier, over a hundred Iranian documentary filmmakers had expressed support for the people of Khouzestan and called on the government to stop using force against protesters.

In another development, renowned Iranian composer and musician Hossein Alizadeh wrote in a statement: “The people of Khuzestan want water, not blood.”

Iran International

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.