Iranians Protest for Water and the Environment ………….

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There have been several demonstration in Tabriz, in the province of Eastern Ajerbaijan, and in Orumieh in the province of Western Azerbaijan. The police have used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse the demonstrators. According to unconfirmed reports, dozens of people have been injured or arrested. ………The reason for the demonstrations has been the rapid deterioration of Lake Orumieh, which has been drying up, fueling strong reaction from Azerbaijanis and environmentalists alike. Emergency legislation proposed pumping a large volume of water into the lake, but was voted down in the Majles, also prompting angry protests by the deputies from the two Azerbaijan provinces as well as other provinces in the area. Jamshid Ansari, a reformist deputy from Zanjan, said that addressing the problem of Lake Orumieh is a national problem, and if not addressed properly, 18 of Iran’s provinces will be negatively affected. Twenty-two Majles deputy have written a letter to Majles Speaker Ali Larijani stating that the government must take responsibility for the political, social, and economic consequences of Lake Orumieh’s deteriorating state..…………

A first in the Middle East, as far as I know: a protest that has to do with water and an environmental issue. This type of protest doesn’t get as much coverage outside Iran, mainly because it ‘supposedly’ doesn’t make a direct political point. But it does. It gives us a brief look into two serious future Middle East issues: water and the environment (and pollution). Many people, but not most are aware of the water issue. Hardly anybody worries about the environment.