The statement issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pertaining to the recent developments in Khuzestan province is a matter of profound regret; for, it is replete with unsubstantiated accusations and misinformation. The baseless allegations come as unfailing efforts made by state, judicial, security and media authorities to bring an end to the outstanding issues have all been ignored; such a move is a testament to the invalidity of the statement. Therefore, the High Commissioner’s statement is more of a political declaration made by anti-Establishment agents, than a speech delivered by an international human rights official.
Neither unprofessional and biased comments appertaining to the management of the country’s water resources fall within the authority and mandate of the High Commissioner, nor does the organization she represents have any place to pass comments about such issues.
The water crisis unfolding in Khuzestan is the result of a year-long drought. The prolonged and severe drought has also been exacerbated by the United States’ illegal and inhumane unilateral coercive measures which constitute a major impediment to stimulating investment and transferring of technology for water management in Khuzestan. Therefore, the question is that how come the High Commissioner is yet to condemn in the strongest terms the United States’ unlawful and cruel sanctions against the people of Iran – whose basic human rights have been violated – and has instead preferred to make only a few short and half-hearted sentences?
- It seems that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is hell-bent on minoritizing, dividing and sowing the seeds of discord amongst the ever-united Iranian nation. Such a move is in line with policies dictated by certain Western countries whose enmity towards the Iranian nation is no mystery to anyone. These certain countries are those who exploit the lofty concept of human rights, and sponsor politically-motivated and anti-human rights resolutions against the Islamic Republic of Iran both in the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran fully recognizes the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The State authorities also recognize and respect the peaceful expression of objection to water issues in Khuzestan. The Government, however, does NOT under any circumstances whatsoever allow the rioters to disturb public order and endanger national security. The killing of a police officer and wounding a number of other law enforcement agents prove that enemy forces and armed infiltrators have taken advantage of the peaceful assemblies and are leaving no stones unturned to spark riots, sow the seeds of destruction and organize conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Water shortage in Khuzestan province results from a 52% decline in precipitations on an annual basis as well as ensuing unprecedented drought, coupled with high temperatures in this region, which have altogether led to a 50% decline in the dams’ water reserve. In case of full water release, recurrent and new problems will occur in coming months.
During last year, the bulk of water supply projects envisaged for various cities in Khuzestan province became operational. In the agriculture sector of Khuzestan province, major measures have been implemented regarding construction of canals and draining of farmland. Over the years, 295,000 ha of land across Khuzestan and part of Ilam provinces underwent canal construction and drainage.
Massive measures have been undertaken over the past eight years in the water and wastewater sector of Khuzestan province. With the Ghadir Project, drinking water has been transferred from Dez Dam to a large part of Khuzestan and Ahvaz, and further efforts are also on the agenda.
Over the past years, Khuzestan province has been faced with the scourge of haze. The current administration then moved to replace most power transmission lines, and 46,000 ha of land exposed to haze underwent transplantation.
Since 2013, more than IRR 210,000 billion has been paid in credit to Khuzestan province, which is 5% higher than average sum allocated to other provinces. That placed Khuzestan in the first rank among provinces in terms of credit allocation. Owing to sacrifices made by residents of Khuzestan during the Eight-year Sacred Defense, most services in terms of water and wastewater, canal construction, tree plantation, fighting haze and agriculture development have been provided to this province. The President has issued special instructions to all relevant authorities to urgently follow up on necessary measures until full resolution of the problems.