In Brief: Anti-government protests spread to Tehran

Ayatollah Khamenei. Image Credit: Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0.

Protests in Iran have entered their third week, with reports of widespread arrests of protestors and the deadly use of force.

The protests began on 15 July in response to the ongoing severe drought and water crisis in the Ahwazi region of Khuzestan.

Protestors have said that water represented only a trigger for a wider movement against Iran’s repressive regime.

Since 15 July, protests have spread across the country, including to the capital city of Tehran.

Protestors have also turned their attention to Iran’s expansionist foreign policy agenda in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza in the context of essential shortages domestically.

In a video shared on social media, protestors can be heard to shout slogans including “Death to the dictator!” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I will sacrifice my life for Iran”.

According to Amnesty International, some eight protestors, including a teenage boy, have been killed by security forces across seven different cities.

The Iranian Mehr News Agency reported that shopkeepers in Tehran began protesting after a power cut lasting hours.

Amnesty International reported that security forces had used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns and tear gas against protestors.

The regime is also thought to have imposed internet outages in regions with unrest like Khuzestan and certain Tehran neighbourhoods.

Khuzestan has been the centre of protest before, including in November 2019 following the death of a local anti-government poet in controversial circumstances.

The 2019 protests spread around the country, with hundreds killed and thousands arrested as security forces violently cracked down on protestors.