Iran water shortage Photograph:( Twitter )
Iran has been hit by the worst drought in 50 years as several areas reported protests over water shortages and blackouts in the country.
Iran's state-run television announced on Tuesday that authorities had arrested agents linked to Israel who were reportedly planning to use arms to spark protests over water shortages which has hit the country in recent weeks.
The report claimed a large number of weapons and ammunition were seized and a "network of spy agents" were arrested.
At least four people have been killed in the protests even as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the demonstrators that the "enemy will try to use any tool against the revolution".
Residents in the country's drought-hit southwest region of Khuzestan have been protesting for days over the water shortages. The protests have reportedly spread to other towns in the country as people chanted anti-government slogans.
At least two young men have been shot in the protests as the country witnessed the worst drought in 50 years leading to large scale power blackouts.
"The people have expressed their discontent, but we can't criticise them for that," Khamenei said.
"The water problem is not a minor one, particularly in Khuzestan's hot climate," Iran's supreme leader acknowledged as the country's state media reported protests taking place outside Khuzestan amid casualties.
Khuzestan locals had taken part in anti-government protests two years ago as UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet asked Iranian authorities to address the water shortage in the province.
"Shooting and arresting people will simply add to the anger and desperation," Bachelet said.
Amid the protests, the US said it supports "the rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and to express themselves" as reports said workers and farmers had taken out rallies.
The government had sent a delegation to Khuzestan to combat the water shortage issue as the country battles blistering summer heatwaves and droughts.
(With inputs from Agencies)