The Iranian police forces dismantled an arms and ammunition trafficking band in the Southwestern province of Khuzestan where a number of protesters and a police officer have been martyred by rioters in the past few days, misusing peaceful rallies to protest at water shortage.
The police were informed of the arrival of a cargo of smuggled weapons and ammunition in Ahvaz city, the capital of Khuzestan province, Commander of Khuzestan province’s Law Enforcement Police General Seyed Mohammad Salehi told reporters on Saturday.
He added that the police forces found the trafficking route of the smugglers on Hamidiyeh-Ahvaz road and arrested a member of the team during an ambush and two others in later operations.
“During a search of the suspects’ car and home, 11 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 7,000 Kalashnikov bullets, and 1,500 pistol bullets were discovered,” General Salehi said.
Rioters and armed militants disguised among protestors who have been holding rallies to demand solutions to their problems related to water shortage and drought in Iran's Southwestern province of Khuzestan killed a young protestor and a policeman on Tuesday.
It is less than a month that the western regions of Khuzestan have been in a water crisis, and due to the lack of water in the Hur al-Azim wetland, some local people have lost their livestock. A number of young people have been holding mostly peaceful protest rallies in the past few days in certain regions of Khuzestan province. Yet, Separatist and anti-revolutionary groups have been attempting to provoke rallies into rioting by false-flag operations and through a large disinformation campaign.
Human Rights Lawyer and Director of Partners for Rights Elahé Sharifpour-Hicks, a member of the US-backed opposition of the Islamic Republic based in the western countries, wrote on her Twitter page that armed members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as MEK, NCRI, or PMOI) terrorist group trained by Israel are actively present among protesting people in Khuzestan to provoke tensions.
Last Friday, the Al-Ahwaziyah terrorist group released photos and videos claiming that it planned to riot in some parts of Khuzestan; the images showed a number of individuals who raised the flag of al-Ahwaziyah terrorist group among the protesting people rallying in Shadegan and Susangerd.
The group has a record of numerous terrorist operations in Iran in the past two decades, killing citizens, including children and women.
One factor behind Iran’s water shortages is a sharp drop in rainfall, which has been more than 40% below last year’s levels in recent months, combined with high Summer temperatures. The drought has left Iran’s dams with less water to generate electricity, contributing to blackouts in recent weeks.
People in Khuzestan province rallied to protest shortages of drinking and agricultural water and the drying up of wetlands and rivers.
Iran’s Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i issued an order to immediately follow up on resolving the water problem in Khuzestan, and a senior judicial and executive delegation was sent to the Southwestern province to investigate the issue. President Hassan Rouhani also sent the Head of the Crisis Management Organization to Khuzestan at the head of a high-level delegation to settle the problems in the province as soon as possible.
Meantime, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined the necessity for resolving water shortage problems in Khuzestan as fast as possible.