The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) issued the following statement with regards to the week-long protests against water shortages in the Khuzestan province:

The popular protests against water shortages in Iran's Khuzestan province began almost two weeks ago and have continued in many cities since despite the regime's desperate efforts to crack down and stop the protests including dispatching IRGC units, opening fire on protesters and shutting down the internet in the province. According to reports at least 12 people have been killed and many more have been injured and arrested.

The protests have also spread to other Iranian cities and provinces with people taking to the streets in solidarity with the protesters in Khuzestan province. People are chanting “Death to dictator” at these popular protests targeting the regime in its entirety. The protests show that the people of Iran see the regime and its corrupt policies as the main cause of crises in the country.

Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “Since 2019, crackdown on popular protests, killing protesters and cutting off Internet have become more the rule than exception in response to growing popular protest and dissent against the regime.

“The UK Government must strongly condemn this alarming trend and take the lead at the international level to establish a UN investigation into the extrajudicial killing of protesters and execution of political prisoners as a first step to hold the regime and its leaders to account.”

Rt Hon David Jones MP said: “Reports of protesters being killed and injured because of their protests over  lack of  access to water are extremely troubling. The regime spends billions of dollars on domestic repression, destabilising the region and exporting terrorism, but is unwilling to address a crisis that affects the fundamental health and well-being of the Iranian people.

“The UK Government put in place the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations last year for exactly such circumstances as these and should now use them to impose sanctions on those Iranian leaders and organisations responsible for this gross affront to the most basic of human rights: the right to a supply of water.”

Steve McCabe MP added: “I join colleagues in condemning the deadly crackdown on the protests against water shortages and urge the UK Government to do the same.

“There must be accountability as a notorious human rights abuser, Ebrahim Raisi, is set to take over the presidency in August. And I call on the UK Government to use the Magnitsky sanctions in this regard and to work with allies to secure an international process that ends the impunity regime leaders and officials have enjoyed in the last four decades for killing peaceful protesters and other human rights abuses.”

British Committee for Iran Freedom

30 July 2021