Iran opposition MP goes on hunger strike

An Iranian lawmaker from the southeastern province of Kerman has announced a sit-in and hunger strike against what he described as government negligence of the people of his constituency.

Speaking during an open session of parliament on Sunday, Reza Hosseini Qotbabadi said he will continue his protest until the problems of his constituency are solved.

“I will not leave the parliament and will remain in my office,” said Qotbabadi, who represents the county of Shahrbabak. “As a soldier of the province, I will do this job.”

The MP said the copper industries in his constituency must be declared independent, the waters of Persian Gulf must be allowed to flow to his county, and gas must be supplied to villages in his area.

Qotbabadi, who is a member of industries and mines commission of the parliament, said people living in villages are having trouble in accessing water and absence of paved roads.

“I am doing this for the people, and because of dishonesty of some officials,” said the conservative lawmaker, launching a scathing attack at the government.

He said the economic condition in Iran deteriorated because the “usury” entered the system and “commands of God, Quran, and religion” were overlooked.

The lawmaker further said the conservative and reformist political factions in the country have “caused family disputes”, resulting in people chasing “individual interests” to the detriment of the country.

Qotbabadi also criticized the government for being indifferent towards the plight of war veterans and families of martyrs, saying they defended the country years ago and today their children are jobless.

“The war isn’t over it,” he said. “Yesterday, it was against the external enemies, and today it is against both external enemies and internal ill-wishers.”

Shahrbabak is one of the biggest counties in the country’s biggest province — Kerman — and one of the poorest too, according to locals.

“Due to indifference of officials, people in the remote areas of the county face some of the worst problems,” Mehdi Mohammad, a local resident presently based in Tehran, told Anadolu Agency.

He appreciated the lawmaker for “being the voice of people” in Shahrbabak, and hoped the problems would be resolved “under the new government.

Hassan Rouhani’s government has come under severe pressure in last few years due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Rouhani and his ministers have blamed the US sanctions for it.

Rouhani’s second term in office ends early next year, and there is speculation that the conservatives, who already dominate the parliament, could storm to power in Tehran.

Source: Anadolu Agency