Following days of anti-government protests and a heavy-handed crackdown in Iran’s province of Khuzestan, following the deadly collapse of a building, President Ebrahim Raisi paid a visit to Abadan.
Unlike normal visits by the president to other cities, which are usually announced beforehand so local authorities can organize state-sponsored welcoming ceremonies, the Friday junket was without the presence of people except for his security detail and a couple of city officials.
Protests began last week, when the 10-story Metropol building collapsed, leaving nearly 40 people dead and dozens missing. It quickly became apparent that the owner and builder was a powerful and well-connected businessman who had disregarded regulations and building codes, being backed by officials, who might have had their own financial interests.
He also visited homes of some families of the victims of the disaster that triggered protests in Abadan as well as in several other cities across the oil-rich Khuzestan province who have been taking to the streets to demand accountability.
During the visit, Raisi said people have the right to expect investigation into corruption and some businessmen's connections with authorities that led to the Abadan incident, adding that they should be dealt with quickly.