Fuel shortages and discontent in Sistan and Baluchistan

With the beginning of the cold season and severe shortage of fuel in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, social discontent and unrest are spreading and the situation is tense throughout the province, reports from Iran say.

In recent days in Khash, Iranshahr, and the provincial capital of Zahedan, people assembled in front of the governor's office and other government centers and staged demonstrations. Among others, they chanted, "the regime gives free oil to Syria, but people are dying from cold in Sistan and Baluchistan."

The Guards Corps (Pasdaran) are very alarmed at the situation and have brought in a large number of reinforcement troops from other regions to this province. The GC is preparing to crack down on any possible popular uprising.

In Winter 1994, Sistan and Baluchistan saw a series of massive popular uprisings where a large number of people were killed or wounded when in the attacks of the Guards Corps. Two months later in April, when Rafsanjani visited this province to examine the security measures for the prevention of further upheavals, he admitted to the deplorable living conditions of the people of this province. In Zabol, one of the important cities in this province, he said, "Sewage flows onto the streets, making it impossible to pass. Most of the trees have dried up and the health and well-being of the residents of this city are endangered." (Salam daily, Apr. 4, 1994)

Sistan and Baluchistan is one of the most deprived provinces in Iran. Inflation, unemployment, general poverty and the absence of the most basic facilities in this province expose the people of this province to greater pressure compared to other parts of Iran.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
December 26, 1996

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