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Drought-Plagued Iranian Farmers Protest Lack of Access to Water


Iran Drought Through the Years

Farmers in Isfahan, Iran, are continuing to protest the lack of water available to irrigate their fields.

Recent amateur video on social media showed protesters chanting slogans while security forces tried to disperse them.

Much of Iran is suffering through a drought that has sparked several protests across the country in the past month, including in towns near Isfahan and around the western province of Khuzestan.

Isfahan has been at the epicenter of the protests. Farmers say that over the years, the government has deprived them of their right to the water sources of the region. The farmers also claim that either because of mismanagement or bribery, government officials have diverted water from Isfahan to its neighboring province, Yazd.

Iran's farmers have struggled with several successive years of drought. Farming has never been easy in Iran, where three-quarters of the country gets less than 8 inches of rain a year, most of which evaporates before seeping into the soil.

The government has promised to pay compensation to help the struggling farmers.

Approximately 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought to some degree, according to the Iran Meteorological Organization.

"Towns and villages around Isfahan have been hit so hard by drought and water diversion that they have emptied out, and people who lived there have moved," Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told Reuters.

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