A dead cow is seen on dried up grounds in Shahreza, Iran in this undated picture. Tasnim News Agency/ via Reuters
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A number of protests have broken out in Iran since the beginning of the year over water, a growing political concern due to a drought that residents of parched areas and analysts say has been exacerbated by mismanagement.While the nationwide protests in December and January stemmed from anger over high prices and alleged corruption, in rural areas, lack of access to water was also a major cause, analysts say.At least 25 people were killed and, according to one parliamentarian, up to 3,700 people were arrested, the biggest challenge yet for the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who was re-elected last year.In Syria, drought was one of the causes of anti-government protests that broke out in 2011 and led to civil war, making the Iranian drought particularly sensitive.Since the January protests, Rouhani has repeatedly said the government will do what it can to address grievances.Iranian security forces are aware of the potential for water issues to cause instability.
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