Maryam Rajavi: Water shortage catastrophe, consequence of antinationalistic and plundering measures of mullahs and IRGC
The first step in overcoming this unparalleled crisis is establishment of democracy
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, described the catastrophe of water shortage in Iran a consequence of Iranian regime’s antinationalistic policies and the unbounded plunder, jobbery and corruption of this regime’s leaders and the revolutionary guards (IRGC) in wasting country’s assets in nuclear projects and export of terrorism and fundamentalism. She emphasized: The first step in saving the country from this crisis unparalleled in Iran’s history is to topple the religious fascism and establish democracy.
To resolve this crisis, not only all economic and industrial resources have to be used, but antinationalistic nuclear projects and the export of terrorism and fundamentalism have to be done away with and their colossal expenses should be allocated to restoring and revitalizing the water resources. However, as long as this Iranian regime that has just brought poverty and death and destroyed the national wealth of the Iranian people is in power, it will continue with its destructive policies that spread and exacerbate the water shortage catastrophe.
After years of concealing the water shortage crisis, in the recent months, regime’s leaders have been compelled to acknowledge some aspects of this crisis that has spread to most of Iran’s provinces and cities. Meanwhile, they hide the real causes of this tragedy and attempt to blame the situation on natural phenomenon or to place the blame on unrestrained and excessive usage of the water resources by the people or at the very most blame it on mismanagement of former government officials.
Issa Kalantari, advisor to Rouhani and General Secretary of regime’s Agriculture House, acknowledged a few days ago: “Water is considered a recyclable natural element, but this is no longer the case in Iran due to excessive use.” He went on to add: “We have around 100 billion cubic meters of recyclable water in the country and we should use 40 billion cubic meters of it and not any more. But today, we use 96% of this water which is a catastrophe… Due to the unmethodical usage of country’s natural resources and water… most lagoons that are very important resources of country’s environment, have been destroyed and dried up in the recent years.” (IRNA state news agency – September 9, 2015)
“By using 97% of surface waters, practically all rivers have dried up and there is no longer any water left in the nature” and “in not too distant a future, around 70% of country’s population needs to immigrate,” he had similarly stated on April 27, 2015.
On 16 August 2015, regime’s Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian noted: “Every year, the situation for water deteriorates and if nothing is done, peasants will lose their jobs, we will have more unemployed people that come to the cities, and most important of all, food security will be imperiled… 7000 hectares of pistachio lands have dried up and the lagoons of Urmia, Bakhtegan, Gavkhooni and Hamoun have dried up” (Jahan Sanat state daily). Last year he had stated: “There are 609 plains in Iran. 296 of the plains have negative usage of water. In a sense, one can say that 296 lakes like Urmia are drying up…” (Tasnim news agency– September 19, 2014)
“Two years ago, 80,000 hectares of Golestan [Province] was used to grow rice. Last year, this area was 50,000 and this year it dwindled to 28,000 hectares,” stated regime’s Agricultural Minister Mahmoud Hojjati (Jahan Sanat – August 16, 2015).
Deputy Interior Minister and head of the Organization for Management of Crisis Esmail Najjar said: “520 cities suffer from shortage of potable water” (Tabnak Website – May 5, 2015). A few weeks later, Deputy Energy Minister Sattar Mahmoudi stated that last year we had 517 cities that experienced water shortage. This year, we have 10 more cities. This problem is more acute in Sanandaj, Bandar Abbas, Kerman, Esfahan and eastern Tehran (Fars News Agency– June 13, 2015).
Shortage of water even involves sections of the country like Mazandaran with ample water. IRNA reported on July 4, 2015 that “Kelardasht in western Mazandaran — a county that enjoys many springs and a river like Sard-Abroud with lots of water — is experiencing an acute shortage of potable water.”
Parliamentarian Javad Harvi stated that water crisis has resulted in 200 villages in Sistan and Baluchistan Province to be deserted and in the next five years, no one will be living in the eastern areas of the country (September 30, 2014).
Gholamreza Manouchehri, advisor to the Energy Minister, noted, “Drought and climate change only plays a 10% role in the water shortage; the remaining 90% is due to excessive usage, population growth, and widespread industrial activity. Water usage in Iran is twice that of the world and has passed the red line” (IRNA – September 28, 2014).
One of the main causes of this situation is uncontrolled construction of dams in the past three decades. Right now there are over 550 dams in Iran. Five-hundred have been mostly built by the revolutionary guards and 300 companies affiliated with it during the mullahs’ reign without due technical assessment. Building of dams is one of the main resources for plunder by regime’s leaders.
These dams provide water to a meager percentage of the agricultural land and provide even a smaller percentage of country’s electricity, but they have dried up most of the rivers and destroyed much agricultural land around the dried up rivers causing many villagers to leave their dwellings and come at city outskirts. Many of the dams have been constructed to bring water to regime’s weapons’ industry or nuclear sites, while others are aimed at bringing water to lands and fruit farms usurped by the revolutionary guards and state organs at the expense of destruction of the natural resources and destroying the lives of large numbers of people.
Gatvand Dam that was built by the regime and Ahmadinejad inaugurated is a catastrophic example that turned into desert hundreds of thousands of hectares of Khuzestan’s agricultural land. The lake behind the dam has become a mega storage of salty water that severely damages the environment.
Along dam construction, diversion of waterways and rivers and uncontrolled digging of deep wells by state organs has caused the recession of underground water sources. In some areas it has become almost impossible to access water any more.
Construction of nuclear facilities that consume huge amounts of water in areas such as Qom, Natanz and Esfahan that are relatively dry has aggravated the water shortage. One of the reasons for Zayandeh-roud River to dry up is the concentration of military industry in Esfahan Province and the diversion of the water of this river to these industrial sites. Reciprocally, shortage of water has afflicted vital industries. According to parliamentarian Nasser Moussavi, shortage of water has caused a slump in the steel industry in Esfahan that now operates at 40% capacity (Khaneh Melat Website – September 12, 2014).
Construction of dams and diversion of rivers for military and governmental purposes has dried up many lagoons and lakes such as Urmia, Hamoun and Bakhtegan that is disastrous for the livelihood of the people living in these areas, as well as for the environment.
According to the authority responsible for the Bakhtegan National Park, “The drying up of the 120,000 hectare lake of Bakhtegan has led to salt storms and various diseases for the population” and “made the agricultural lands salty. This lake gave humidity to the air and thus fruitfulness of fig, almond and olive trees. As this lake has completely dried up, the fruit farmers are having problems. This lake was home to flamingos, shelducks, Western reef egrets, gulls, spoonbill birds, pelican ducks, geese and cranes that migrate to Iran from Russia and Siberia.” State media-July 11, 2015))
According to regime’s officials, two thirds of Hour al-Adhim lagoon in Khuzestan Province that is one of the richest lagoons in the region in wild life and plants has dried up. This in turn has destroyed dozens of villages and rendered homeless thousands of villagers in addition to causing sand storms that is one of the main elements of increase of dust to 20 times the normal level in Khuzestan.
The Iranian Resistance calls on the Iranian people, especially the youth, to use the slogan of “water, water, is the irreconcilable right of Iranian people” to confront the anti-popular policies of the mullahs’ regime and the improper use of country’s water resources by the IRGC, including the destructive dam constructions, and not allow their further destruction of the country.