Eighteen members of Iran’s parliament collectively resigned in protest to the cancellation of water supply projects in the city of Isfahan from the country’s 2019 budget, Iranian news outlets reported on Wednesday.
Akbar Turki, the representative for Fereydunshahr in parliament, announced that the letter of resignation was sent to the parliament's presidency council on Wednesday.
Turki added that “the MPs are waiting to complete the necessary legal procedures to complete their resignation.”
In their letter, the MPs stated that the government has not fulfilled its promises to develop the Zayanderud River, which passes through the towns of Isfahan, and did not include any project in next year’s budget relating to resolving the crisis of drinking water in the city.
“If we cannot at least manage the rights of the residents of Isfahan, and provide drinking water for millions of citizens through this government, then we do not see a reason for our presence in parliament,” the letter read.
Nasser Maouissaoui Larkani, one of the resigning MPs representing Isfahan, criticized the government saying that the issue has come to threaten the drinking water of the city of Isfahan.
In late October, social media users posted pictures and videos of a strike by Isfahan farmers due to water scarcity and the government’s negligence towards the issue.
The demonstrators had parked their tractors in the middle of roads and at the city’s entrances calling for the government to make water available so they can farm. The government had ordered them to stop farming because of the scarcity of the water, without providing any alternatives.
Parliament member Hamid Reza Voladkar, one of the MPs of Isfahan, had stated previously that Isfahan’s residents grew more frustrated because of how the Zayanderud River was being utilized to serve other regions.
A portion of the water from the river goes to the Iranian city Yazd close to Isfahan, which led residents to purposely damage water pipes.
The scarcity of water is one of the most serious crises challenging the Iran. Some analysts expect that this crisis will provoke internal conflicts between different regions in the near future.