Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh on Saturday slammed the “interventionist and politicized remark” by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet regarding the security forces’ bloody clashes with thousands of demonstrators in Khuzestan province’s “water riots.”
On Friday, Bachelet said Iran should address the chronic water shortage in Khuzestan instead of attacking the protesters. “Shooting and arresting people will simply add to the anger and desperation,” she said, adding that a “catastrophic” water shortage had been building up in the region for many years.
Last week, Iran locked down the Internet connections of many users, so that reports, especially videos, from the areas of confrontation are not reaching the West as they had done before.
In #Iran, riot police open fire at citizens as they protest against severe water shortages. Meanwhile, the weak Iranian rial plunges to 246,200 IRR/USD. Iran’s economy and infrastructure are crumbling.pic.twitter.com/CR2E0zqgTV
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 23, 2021
On Saturday, the 10th day of the Khuzestan uprising, people took to the streets of Tabriz, a city in East Azerbaijan province, some 800 miles north of Khuzestan, chanting slogans against the clerical regime’s oppression and expressing solidarity with the Khuzestan uprising, the National Council of Resistance of Iran reported.
The demonstrators chanted, “Azerbaijan is awake, it supports Khuzestan,” “Neither Shah nor Khamenei, we are patriotic,” “We are ready to sacrifice our lives, we are Babak’s soldiers.” (Bābak Khorramdin was a prominent Iranian revolutionary leader who fought against the Abbasid Caliphate). Iran’s State Security Force and the special anti-riot units attacked the protesters, but they resisted, chanting, “We will not accept humiliation, shame on you, shame on you,” and forced the police to retreat.
Meanwhile, in Zanjan and Bojnurd, Iranians also took to the streets in solidarity with the Khuzestan uprising. They chanted, “Iranians die but will not accept humiliation.”
Human rights groups around the world have accused Iran of using unlawful and excessive force against the Khuzestan protesters and cited a higher death toll than was reported by Iranian media.
Khatibzadeh described the UN Commissioner’s statement saying, “The accusations have been made without considering the extensive efforts of the government, judiciary, security, and media officials to alleviate the suffering of the people of this province and to resolve the existing problems, and that is the most important proof that the statement is politicized and invalid. In this respect, the High Commissioner’s statement is more like a political declaration with a hostile tone than the words of an international human rights official.”
“The question is why the commissioner has not yet, so blatantly, condemned the unlawful sanctions imposed by the United States against the Iranian nation which have led to the violation of many of the fundamental human rights of this honorable nation, and has just expressed a few short and weak sentences!” the Iranian spokesperson declared.