By Pooya Stone
Those living in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province are facing untold social and economic problems because of longstanding deprivation and poverty, which is becoming worse as inequality becomes more pronounced.
Some have even fled the province for neighboring Kerman, which itself is one of the poorest provinces in the country, where the Baluch people live in tents, with no electricity or running water.
All of this despite the vast wealth of the ayatollahs and the country’s natural resources.
On September 5, Ali Khezrian, a member of the Parliament (Majlis), said: “We traveled to the city of Iranshahr, the second-largest city in southeast Iran, and visited its villages. Unfortunately, the people of this area are deprived of facilities, such as showers and toilets. There were no suitable electricity facilities in the villages,”
It might, as the state-run media report, be hard to imagine people living in these conditions in the 21st century, but this is true for Sistan and Baluchestan province. Children go about in rags and without shoes, they pull food from rubbish piles, and some of them die or are grievously injured when fetching water from ponds because of marsh crocodiles. All because the government refuses to put the much-needed infrastructure in place when these dangers have been known about for years.
Worse still, authorities steal the water that fills the dams during the rainy season for use in factories and government facilities affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Water is far from the only essential that the people here lack. They suffer greatly from gas shortages, with only five cities and seven villages (out of 47 and over 10,000 respectively) have gas mains. Everywhere else, women are sent to carry heavy gas canisters on long distances or collect firewood, with some losing their lives as a result.
Children are also deprived of proper education, with schools taking place in tents and not having the minimum facilities for students. This has been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis with students unable to attend online courses because they don’t have smartphones or internet access.
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “There is no reason for the people of Sistan & Baluchestan to live in these difficult circumstances, other than that the regime’s leaders have looted their share of Iran’s wealth… The billion-dollar fortunes of the regime’s leaders inside and outside the country, especially Khamenei’s $200 billion property, have been stolen from these people at the price of their food, water, and other livelihood and recreational facilities. But surely one day, the anger of the people will bring down the mullahs’ oppression and exploitation, and overthrow the mullahs’ regime.”