EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A number of protests took place recently in Iran that received almost no attention anywhere other than inside the country itself. These events occurred in peripheral cities that suffer from rising unemployment, lack of infrastructure, increases in the cost of living, extreme climatic conditions, and air pollution. These cities are marginalized in Iran’s public discourse, which is reflected in an allocation of resources that is not commensurate with the needs of the residents – most of whom are classified as “ethnic minorities”. In those residents’ eyes, government policy is negligent and inattentive to their distress.
Large-scale violent demonstrations took place recently in the Iranian city of Kazerun, which is under the jurisdiction of the Fars Province. They were the collective response of residents to publication of a plan for a new administrative division of Fars that intends to remove two densely populated areas from the jurisdiction of the Kazerun municipality and grant them independent status (a sub-province called Koh-Chenar).
Underlying the protests is the plight of many residents of the province who have long suffered from difficult working and living conditions. The administrative partition proposal served as a spark that ignited flames of frustration over government neglect.