London-Popular demonstrations erupted in Asaluyeh in the Bushehr Province after a security official killed an Arab youth on Wednesday.
Authorities confirmed on Thursday media reports about wide confrontations between demonstrators and security forces in the Sunni-majority province of Bushehr, south of Iran.
The events in Asaluyeh, which includes the largest gas complex in South Iran, came one day after 18 parliamentarians had presented a warning to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli against the mistreatment of Sunnis, and the closure of their mosques to prevent worshippers from praying.
Local sources said that security members had killed a young man after a dispute started between him and coast guard forces at the port, where the victim was returning in his fishing boat.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Human Rights Agency Hrana said that protestors had fired at Iranian police vehicles when the latter tried to stop demonstrations by firing at protestors who were angry over the killing of a young man at the Eid al-Fitr Holiday.
Hrana quoted witnesses in its report as saying that security forces injured a number of protestors in the Bushehr province. Later, a security assistant in the province announced that his forces were in control in the Asaluyeh city and the surrounding villages.
According to the sources, the demonstrations expanded after “a peaceful gathering” near a police station in Asaluyeh was crushed. Police injured five protestors, two of them in critical conditions.
In this regard, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards-linked Tsanim news agency said that security forces had controlled the tense villages of Naimiyeh and Asaluyeh. The news agency said that “protestors had demanded the resignation of security officials in the city and the trial of those behind the incident to put a limit to all security breaches.”
Asaluyeh’s name was linked last year to the wide labor strikes against the dire economic situation and the authorities’ delay in paying wages.
Residents living in the area, similar to other Arabs in Iran, are harassed by the authorities due to their sectarian and ethnic affiliations.
In parallel, Iran’s government news agency had reported a story different from that carried on social media. Mehr and Fars news agencies said that clashes erupted in Asaluyeh between security members and smugglers.
In a linked development, a huge fire erupted at a petrochemical refinery factory in Mahshahr, considered the largest refinery located in southwestern Iran.
The reasons behind the blaze, which erupted two days ago, were not immediately identified. However, authorities said the fire was caused by an explosion due to high temperatures registered in the last two days.
Official news agencies also reported the renewal of a blaze at the Bu Ali Sina factory in the southern port of Mahshahr, after earlier reports said firefighters had managed to put out the flames.
The company’s executive director, Adel Selim Nejad said: “The fire will last at least another two days and firefighters would be unable to put out the fire before the tank in which the blaze started, is emptied.”