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Shots, clashes in the midst of Iran are protesting against water scarcity



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iran's security forces were warned against demonstrators over armed protesters on early Sunday over water shortages in the South, despite the fact that, according to the authorities, only one person was injured in the clashes.

The protests around Khorramshahr, some 650 kilometers southwest of Tehran, as residents of the predominantly Arab city near the Iraqi border, complain of salty, muddy water coming from their taps during years of drought.

The turmoil there aggravates only the further discomfort In Iran, there is an economic crisis, triggered by the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear agreements with world powers.

Protests began Friday in Khorramshahr, Abadan and other areas of the Iranian Khuzestan province in Iran. The demonstrations were peaceful at first, demonstrators sang in both Arabic and Farsi

But on late Saturday and early Sunday morning, demonstrators began throwing stones and confronting security forces in Khorramshahr, according to widespread online video. State television aired images of rocks and broken glass that covered sidewalks, as well as battered ATMs. Women and children fled as shots echoed.

One video showed a heavy machine-gun fire that showed demonstrators dragging a man who could not walk. Another video showed a man wearing a Kalashnikov assault rifle on a motorcycle near demonstrators.

The state television reported on Sunday afternoon that "peace has returned" to Chorramshahr and an indefinite number of demonstrators had been arrested. It was said that some demonstrators had carried firearms during the riots.

It is unclear what triggered the violence. Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told journalists Sunday that there were no deaths and only one person was injured.

"Such protests are directed at the propaganda of opportunists from places and people who are recognized by us as enemies," Fazli said. "They watch how they incite such incidents today in foreign media and cyberspace."

In Khorramshahr and the other province of Khuzestan, there were pipe-bomb attacks by Arab separatists in the past. Tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed in the province during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1

980s.

This unrest aggravates the drought. The Iran Meteorological Organization estimates that 97 percent of the country faces a certain drought. Analysts also blame the mismanagement of the government for having some peasants diverted in favor of others.

"Although Iran has a drought history, Iran has experienced its longest, most extensive and severe drought in over 30 years in the last decade." A recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency.

About 230 people were poisoned in Khuzestan province after a 20-hour water leak in the Ramhormoz district led to drinking water not being chlorinated Fars news agency reported Sunday. The protests did not seem to be related to the poisoning.

The protests overnight came after three days of demonstrations in Tehran last week, including demonstrators who confronted policemen in front of the Parliament and the officers with tear gas on the demonstrators. The rallies led to the temporary closure of the city's Grand Bazaar.

The anger is fueled by the Iranian rial, which drops to $ 90,000 – twice the 42,000 government rate – as people watch their savings fade and the shopkeepers keep goods

Similar economic protests turned Iran and spread They turned out in about 75 cities late last year and have become the biggest demonstrations in the country since the months-long rallies following the 2009 controversial presidential election. During protests in late December and early January, mainly in the Iranian provinces and not in the capital, at least 25 people were killed and nearly 5,000 were arrested.

The economic crisis was fueled by Trump's May 8 decision to exit the 2015 Nuclear Accord and sanction. International companies that have signed multi-billion dollar agreements with Iran have largely withdrawn from them, while the US is now demanding that its allies stop buying Iranian oil.

Iran's first vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri mocked the US on Sunday over "begging the Saudis" to increase oil production to suppress rising global oil prices. Trump claimed on Saturday that Saudi Arabia could increase production by 2 million barrels a day after calling King Salman. Saudi Arabia later confirmed the call, but did not mention Trump's 2-million-barrel claim.

"If any country tries to take Iran's place in the oil market in this battle, we will regard it as a great betrayal of the Iranian nation and the world community and they will one day certainly pay for this betrayal," Jahangiri said without continue to work.

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jongambrellAP. His work can be found at http://apne.ws/galNpz.

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