The country’s growing crises are tightening on the citizens of Iran day after day, with an obvious neglect and failure of a regime and a government that stand idly looking at these problems and crises experienced by their own people. Although the regime and its government have managed so far to control the interior and prevent a revolution that could bring the regime down, current conditions indicate that there is a popular anger and fury that might explode at any moment against the regime, especially since these crises have reached the drinking water.

Drinking water scarcity is currently at the top of the crises that plague the Iranian citizen, and due to the negligence by officials, this crisis has turned into a serious threat to the national security. Of the 1157 cities in Iran, there are currently 334 cities with a population of more than 34 million people suffering from severe water shortage problems, while government has no plan or close solution to this crisis. According to Iranian experts, depending on the availability of financial resources offered by the government, 50 years will be needed to complete water projects in the country. That is despite the seriousness of this crisis, which led to the outbreak of popular demonstrations in several Iranian cities, especially in the city of Muhammara in Ahvaz province.

As the crisis escalates, there is a growing possibility of popular protests that could pave the way for a general uprising against the mullahs’ regime and its failed policy of running the country. The specialists believe that this crisis has reached a degree that cannot be tolerated by the Iranian citizens, especially with the government’s indifference and its sick exploitation of such crises in attacking the so-called enemies of Iran and even blaming them for its failure in running the country. The regime has even reached the point of accusing that enemy of stealing the clouds heading towards Iran, and claiming that the reason behind the lack of water and drought is that Israel has been stealing rain clouds before entering Iran, which was denied by many Iranian officials and experts and turned into a mockery against the regime by social media activists.

In light of the government negligence, water scarcity and air pollution have led to social, political and security problems in Iran. It seems that the Iranian regime is opening the way to the expansion of these crises so they can be used in the regime’s propaganda against the United States and some neighboring countries that have stood against Iran’s expansionist projects, including exporting revolution. However, it is known that the main reason for these crises is corruption, mismanagement and Iranian plans to restrict the flow of water to Iraq, which led to the outbreak of the water shortage crisis in Iranian territories and cities near the Iraqi border. In addition to that, the Revolutionary Guard arming and training the Taliban insurgents to destroy dams and electricity production projects in western and southern Afghanistan, also have the same projects in some neighboring countries, mean that many Iranian cities will experience this crisis and suffer from severe water shortage.

Iran has repeatedly tried to divert its differences with the international community from disputes over supporting terrorism, interferences and destabilization of the region into differences over the water shortage crisis and other environmental problems. For instance, President Hassan Rouhani accused regional countries, especially Turkey and Afghanistan, of increasing environmental problems in Iran and the region by building large dams without consulting Tehran, and threatened that his country would not stand idly in dealing with the dams being built by Afghanistan and Turkey. Moreover, Rahim Safavi, a military advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has also threatened Iran’s neighbors implicitly when he said they have two options, to either cooperate to solve the water crisis in the region or confrontation.

Afghan officials stress that Iran has received much more than its agreed share of water. In 2017, it received more than three billion cubic meters. The two countries share the waters of the Helmand River under a 1973 treaty allocating 820 million cubic meters of water annually to Iran which wants to increase its share, even by force, by pushing terrorist groups to blow up any dams the Afghan government might build with support from India. Iran also continues to block all Afghani effort in this regard. However, it seems that Iran has fallen into the very same hole it dug for Afghanistan, and Iranian cities are suffering from water shortages and drought along with the escalation of economic and social crises, especially poverty, unemployment, hunger, the spread diseases and others, which put the Iranian people in front of two ways either salvation from the ruling regime or salvation from life that became unbearable.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

July 19,  2018