The confrontation took place last week when the residents of Lapoot and Mashak villages, in Astaneh Ashrafieh, staged a protest against the government's lack of attention to the serious water shortage crisis which has brought tremendous hardship to villagers.
Over 1,000 families residing in the district participated in the protest, chanting slogans against regime officials. The Guards and State Security Forces intervened with a ruthless attack on protesters, beat up the villagers who included a large number of women, and fired their weapons to disperse the crowd.
Intense clashes ensued. Several farmers were killed, among them Seyyed Isma'il Mir Hosseini, 55. Some 300 farmers were arrested while a large number of Guards were also injured.
Revolutionary Guards blocked all roads in the region for four days and imposed a state of siege on the area. They were reinforced by troops dispatched from Astaneh, Langrood and Lahijan.
The province's television channel aired some scenes of the clashes. The Friday prayer leader of Rasht, mullah Ehsanbakhsh, and a number of local officials went to Lapoot village to visit first hand the site of confrontation.
Serious water shortage has led to bloody confrontations between peasants and the regime's suppressive Guards Corps in various provinces. On June 25, in Qappan Kandi, Miandoab (western Iran) a member of the paramilitary Bassij shot to death two villagers in a quarrel over water.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
June 30, 1999