People waiting outside a bakery in Zahedan. January 2023

People waiting outside a bakery in Zahedan. January 2023

Lawmaker Warns Of Bread, Gas Shortage In Restive Iran Province

Thursday, 01/05/2023

An Iranian member of parliament from Sistan-Baluchestan province has criticized bread and gasoline shortages, reporting long queues at gas stations and bakeries.

ISNA news agency in Tehran quoted Abdol Naser Derakhshan Thursday as saying that the shortage of bread and gasoline in various cities of the relatively poor province has worsened during the past few days. Sistan-Baluchistan in the southeast has a large Baluch ethnic population who are mostly Sunni.

On Sunday, Ismail Hosseinzahi, representative of Khash in parliament also said that the people of Sistan-Baluchistan stand in queues for bread almost three hours and the fuel queues reach three kilometers.

In response to criticisms, the general manager of grains department of the province denied the "shortage of flour" saying that long queues to buy bread are only formed at weekends as people worry about regular protest on Fridays.

Baluch citizens and activists believe the shortages are systematic and aimed at increasing pressure on people due to their weekly protests within the past thirteen weeks.

The Sunni population of the provincial capital Zahedan have been holding antigovernment rallies for more than 3 months. On September 30, security forces opened fire on civilians killing more than 93 protesters and onlookers.

They say pressures have increased in the past two weeks after the appointment of Mohammad Karami, a senior IRGC commander as governor of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Reports say security forces have arrested more than 100 Baluch citizens since past week on the pretext of fighting criminals and illegal foreign nationals.

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