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Residents of the oil-rich Iranian city of Ahvaz with a majority Arab population have been protesting for a week over continuous power failures, air pollution, and government mismanagement.
The city of Ahvaz is the capital of the wealthy Khuzestan province, rich in oil and natural gas and located in southwest Iran close to the Iraqi border. Ahvaz has often topped the unfortunate ranking of the world’s most polluted cities.
Early last week, demonstrators took to the streets of Ahvaz to protest against power cuts, water shortages, and air pollution. Protestors were chanting against “injustice” and slammed the public TV broadcasters that have not been reporting either the conditions in the city or the protests.
“We feel as if we live in a special zone, where the government only makes money from. It seems they would prefer people to leave so they can turn this whole area into an oil-business-only region,” local student Mobin Ataee told the New York Times.
Local police have issued a statement that people refrain from “illegal gatherings” and warned them they would be “confronted” if they continued those gatherings, NYT said, adding that witnesses have spoken about riot police being spotted in Ahvaz streets.
According to Iranian PressTV, the Iranian state broadcaster’s English-language outlet, Iran has mobilized forces to help the crisis-hit province of Khuzestan and its main city Ahvaz, and authorities have already been working to resolve the power failures and water shortages as quickly as possible.
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According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the largest Iranian opposition group, its leader Maryam Rajavi on Saturday called upon the people in Khuzestan province and the city of Ahvaz “to intensify their just protests and to insist on their urgent demands for minimum necessities of life such as clean weather, water and electricity.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.