Several videos uploaded by social media users showed security forces using tear gas to disperse demonstrators, and the semi-official news agency Fars said “rioters” attacked the port city of Khuzestan province. A policeman was shot dead and another injured in Mahshahr.
In the city of Izeh, a video shows protesters chanting “Reza Shah, bless your soul”, a reference to the king who founded the Pahlavi dynasty that was overthrown by the 1979 Islamic Revolution .
Videos, which surfaced late Tuesday and early Wednesday, showed women chanting “Down with the Islamic Republic” at a Tehran metro station after various opposition groups and activists called for demonstrations to support Khuzestan protesters Gone. At night, some people in the capital vented their anger by raising slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Reuters could not independently authenticate the video.
At least two youths have been shot dead in the protests. Authorities blamed armed protesters, but activists said on social media that they were killed by security forces.
Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, who live mostly in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, has long said they face discrimination in the country. An Arab female protester can be heard in a video shouting at security forces: “Sir! Sir! The protest is peaceful. Why do you shoot? No one took your land and water.”
Iran is facing its worst drought in 50 years and the water crisis has affected homes, agriculture and livestock farming and shut down electricity.
Iran’s economy has been partially crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2018 as well as sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump mainly on its oil industry. Thousands more workers in the key energy sector, including pensioners, have protested for months, with growing discontent over mismanagement, high unemployment and an inflation rate of more than 50%.
At least 31 protests, including workers and farmers’ rallies, took place across Iran on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Dissident Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA).