Iran says police officer killed in unrest amid water protest

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – An Iranian police officer was killed during unrest in the country’s restive southwest amid ongoing demonstrations over water shortages, state media reported yesterday, raising the death toll in the unrest to at least two people.

Gunfire killed the officer in the city of Mahshar and another suffered a gunshot wound to his leg, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

The report blamed “rioters” for the killing, without elaborating. The protests already saw another man killed, according to Iranian media reports. Iran in the past has blamed demonstrators for deaths occurring amid heavy-handed crackdowns by security forces.

There have been six days of continuous protests in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province.

Water worries in the past have sent angry demonstrators into the streets in Iran. The country has faced rolling blackouts for weeks now, in part over what authorities describe as a severe drought. Precipitation had decreased by almost 50 per cent in the last year, leaving dams with dwindling water supplies.

A woman walks with her children along the Karun River in Ahvaz, the capital of Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan. PHOTO: AFP