Protests also erupted last month in other Iranian cities, including Isfahan, Tehran and Kermanshah, and these came on the heels of mounting U.S. pressure on Iran, and renewed sanctions. The combination of rising internal unrest and external pressure raises the stakes. Violent suppression would hurt Iran’s standing in Europe, making it more difficult for the Europeans to resist American pressure to reimpose sanctions.
Iran has accused its rivals, namely the U.S., Israel and their regional allies in the Gulf of fishing in troubled waters. On June 10, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Iranian people in a video message, “offering” Israel’s technology to solve Iran’s water problem that has not only affected people’s livelihood but also operations at an oil facility in Abadan in the Khuzestan province.
Late last month, the saline water disrupted operations at the Abadan petrochemical complex. MP Gholamreza Sharafi, a member of the Energy Commission, said that the saline water has “eroded industrial equipment, pipelines and radiators used in petrochemical complexes and refineries.” Abadan refinery is located near the petrochemical complex. It is Iran’s oldest crude processing plant, and has a nameplate capacity of 435,000 barrels per day. On June 27, an explosion rocked the petrochemical complex, but the cause behind it remains unclear. The complex was reportedly undergoing maintenance when the blast occurred.