Powerful Earthquake in Western Iran Injures Hundreds
Kermanshah: November 26, 2018
On Sunday, November 25, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq at 8:07 pm. No fatalities have been reported so far. According to the latest reports, 634 people have been injured but only 33 needed to be hospitalized. Nine aftershocks have followed, most around a magnitude of 4 on the Richter scale, but two of them were over 5.2. “All services in the stricken areas have been restored and water, electricity and gas lines are working,” said Kermanshah’s Deputy Governor Houshang Bazvand.
In November 2017, the same area was hit with a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 600, injured more than 9,000, destroyed many homes and extensively damaged the area’s infrastructure. Some survivors of that quake still remain homeless today and the government has come under fierce criticism for its inefficiency in handling the aftermath of the disaster.
Labor Protests Continue in Khuzestan
Khuzestan: November 24, 2018
Widespread labor protests over back pay and other demands continue in Khuzestan. On Saturday, November 24, a large number of steelworkers in the provincial capital of Ahvaz clashed with police and several were injured. The steelworker strike was entering its eleventh day, while the Haft-Tapeh Sugarcane Factory strike in the same province entered its twentieth day. Officials say they have paid some of the long overdue wages, but the workers insists that their demands have not been met and they are not satisfied.
Many workers and union leaders have been arrested throughout the protests, and their release has been added to the list of the striking workers’ demands.
Lorestan Official Condemns Forest Destruction
Lorestan: November 22, 2018
"We have destroyed nature but now we claim to be environmentalists,” Ahmad Moradpour, Deputy Governor of Lorestan Province, announced recently. He confessed that thousands of hectares of forests have been destroyed as a result of ill-conceived development projects, including road-building in villages. “We just unleashed the bulldozers to destroy everything in their path, but building roads must follow certain procedures,” he said.
Poorly-planned development projects in Iran have inflicted extensive damage to the environment and to the lives of the people, who have lost their livelihood and in some cases even their drinking water. One conspicuous example among many is the Gotvand Dam in the neighboring province of Khuzestan. Building the dam greatly increased the salt levels of the vital Karun River, making it undrinkable. The dam also devastated agriculture and has contributed to the death of 400,000 palm trees in one area alone.