National flags in Bandar Abbas, Iran
National flags in Bandar Abbas, IraniStock

Iranian police on Thursday killed a man while trying to disperse a protest over water scarcity, The Associated Press reported, citing Iranian media.

The IRNA news agency quoted Col. Mohammad Ebadi Nejad, a local police chief in southern Iran, as saying police fired shots in the air after ordering a crowd to disperse. He said the man was shot in the neck and taken to a hospital, where he died.

IRNA said the clashes began after authorities removed illegal water-pumps from a river.

Protests have been held across southern Iran in recent weeks over water scarcity, noted AP, as much of the country is suffering from drought, and in some areas tap water has turned muddy or salty.

Iran has been facing mounting economic woes since the United States in May pulled out of a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers that had lifted international sanctions in exchange for curbs on the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Iran's currency has plunged almost 50 percent in value in the past six months against the U.S. dollar and inflation is on the rise.

Traders in Tehran's Grand Bazaar recently held a rare strike against the collapse of the rial.

A report earlier this month said that security forces had shot and killed at least four protesters during a demonstration in the city Khorramshahr water pollution. Iranian officials denied those reports.