Iran says police officer, citizen killed amid water protests
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian police officer and another person have been killed in the country’s restive southwest amid ongoing demonstrations over water shortages, state media reported on Wednesday, raising the death toll so far in the unrest to at least three.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, gunfire killed the officer in the city of Mahshar and another suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.
The report blamed “rioters” for the killing, without elaborating. Iranian state television reported later Wednesday that a “citizen” had been killed in the demonstrations in the town of Izeh, without providing details. Another 14 police officers suffered injuries in the unrest, the TV report said.
A third man was killed earlier in the protests, according to Iranian media reports. Iran has in the past blamed demonstrators for deaths occurring amid heavy-handed crackdowns by security forces.
“As nearly 5 million Iranians in Khuzestan are lacking access to clean drinking water, Iran is failing to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water, which is inextricably linked to the right to the highest attainable standard of health,” the group Human Rights Activists in Iran said.
Iran’s economy also has struggled under U.S. sanctions since then-President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, crashing the value of the Islamic Republic’s currency, the rial.