Iraqi protestors block main road to Iran border point
Hundreds of Iraqi protestors on Monday blocked the main road to the border point with Iran in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala for the second time in several days, protesting against Iran's cut of the flow of water in a tributary vital for Iraqi citizens, Xinhua reported.
The protestors came from the Iraqi city of Khanaqin, some 150 km northeast of Baghdad, and cut the main road leading to the Mundhriyah border point with Iran, preventing commercial and Shiite pilgrims' convoys from entering Iraq.
"People, including farmers and activists of local civil society, rallied on the main road since the morning because they blame Iran for cutting the flow entirely from the al-Wind river which is vital for the city Khanaqin and many villages in the surrounding areas," Mohammed Amin, the mayor of Khanaqin told Xinhua.
Amin called on the Iraqi government and the parliament to intervene and discuss the issue with Iranian authorities to solve the problem.
Ziad Ahmed, a Kurdish member of Diyala's provincial council, told Xinhua "Iran is creating an ecological disaster in the city and the vast rural areas that depend on the al-Wind river."
"Many demonstrators brought tents and other necessities preparing to hold a sit-in for a long time on the main road until the Iranians let out the water in the river," said Ahmed who is also a Khanaqin resident.
On July 10, people of Khanaqin held a similar protest demanding Iran to let out the water of the river, saying their fertile land turned into barren land because of the repeated cuts and acute shortage in the river's flow during the past few years.
The 50-km-long tributary of al-Wind river flows from Iran and enters Iraq's Diyala province through the Khanaqin city near the border, before it flows into Diyala tributary, one of the major five tributaries that flow into Tigris River.
Hundreds of Iranian Shiite pilgrims in convoys of buses pass each day through al-Mundhriyah border point visit the holy shrines in Baghdad and other Iraqi Shiite cities.