A number of protests have broken out since the beginning of 2018
Since the beginning of 2018, several protests have erupted in Iran regarding a growing water crisis, leading to 25 deaths and up to 3,700 arrests. The crisis has stemmed from an extended drought period that has been made worse by mismanagement.
While the protest demonstrations have been scattered and small in size, they have still succeeded in highlighting and drawing attention to an issue that has been ongoing for some time.
“What’s called drought is more often the mismanagement of water,” said a journalist in Varzaneh who refused to be identified. “And this lack of water has disrupted people’s income.”
Many farmers direct the blame toward local politicians, accusing them of diverting water from areas in need. Considering the issue from a nationwide scale, the widespread demonstrations have likely been spurred by a cocktail of anger over high prices, corruption and lack of access to water.
The Middle East is no stranger to violent protests stemming from drought. The year 2011 saw many anti-government protests in Syria, eventually leading to civil war as roughly 97% of the country is currently affected by drought in some capacity. Such precedence makes the current Iranian drought situation all the more sensitive.
The issue is ongoing, with many worried that the issue will only escalate if drought conditions continue.