Saturday, 15 October 2011

Al-Ahwaz: Iran's best-kept dirty secret

Below is an article published by Minority Voices:

Ahwazi's have not only been denied their most basic civil, political and human rights, they have been tortured, imprisoned and killed in the most brutal ways on a regular basis by Iranian intelligence and Iranian revolutionary guards. Journalists and human rights activists who have dared to speak up have been also been silenced, imprisoned or killed. These harsh conditions have caused more and more Ahwazi's to leave and settle in Europe. Thousands of Ahwazi refugees reside alongside Palestinians in Al-Waleed camp, Iraq and others have fled over the border to Kuwait and Syria.


Located on the northern tip of the Gulf and the Shatt-al- Arab waterway- A once thriving country, almost twice the size of Iraq sits atop vast mineral resources. The magnificent bridge over Karoon River is picture postcard perfect and is surrounded by exotic landscape with gentle mountains and luscious greenery. However, Mother Nature has not only been extra generous in her picturesque beauty because Al-Ahwaz also sits on a sea of oil. It is the second known oil and gas reserve producer in the world. It has reserves of over 40 billion barrels of oil and 210 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Their land produces over 80% of Iran’s oil revenue and wealth but the Ahwaz’s see none of it, This is because, whilst Ahwazi oil and gas resources are being plundered to fund 90% of the Iranian economy, the Persian provinces of Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan and Fars benefit from all the wealth generated by Ahwazi produced oil. Tragically, this discrimination doesn't stop at the oil. Iran, until today, occupies Al-Ahwaz and whilst it wants the oil, the land and the resources it does not want the people nor their Arab culture and traditions.

Historically, Al Ahwaz was once a wealthy and thriving province of Mesopotamia well-known for its Muslim scholars, poets and artists. From the mid-7th century until the mid 13th century, its people were ruled variously by Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, their numbers swelled by Arab tribes moving from the Arabian Peninsula. Arabs across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries in the gulf have Ahwazi family roots and origins and are able to trace genealogies back to Al-Ahwaz most notoriously those who have roots to the powerful tribe of Bani Kaa'b who settled in Al-Ahwaz.

More recently, Ahwaz used to be a flourishing Arab territory that had its own ruler, Shaykh Khazal until 1925 when Persian Reza Shah Pahlavi, who went on to become king of Iran forcefully took over Ahwaz. Before Iran annexed Ahwaz, the province was referred to as Arabistan and until today it has a population of more than 8 million Arabs. The Arabs have fought and resisted against the occupation and for their independence ever since. However due to restrictions and intimidation to media and human rights organizations, they have not been successful in making their voices heard to the rest of the world.

There's no longer the rich Arab culture and there's Iranian rule in what they now call on the map “Khuzestan” so what's the story now?

Each Ahwazi day see's Ahwazi Arabs living in despicable poverty, houses and land are snatched without consent or compensation, 80 per cent of Arab children are malnourished and uneducated, there is no clean water, no adequate sewage system, there is no equality in employment and education, which forces the Arabs to be at the end of the social and economic ladder.

This view that Ahwazi Arabs are somehow inferior to Persians and deserve to be treated like third-class citizens is not restricted to the predominantly Muslim Ahwazi population but to the Arab Christian minority too. Arab children are punished for speaking Arabic, Iranian authorities refuse to register birth certificates to Arab new-borns unless they choose Persian names. In order, to de-Arabise and Persianize Ahwaz, Iranians from other parts of Iran are 'encouraged' to move there and are offered great jobs and property, together with generous financial and social benefits and tax exemptions. All this prejudice and more is done in a systematic attempt by the Iranian regime to ethnically cleanse the region once and for all.

Ahwazi's have not only been denied their most basic civil, political and human rights, they have been tortured, imprisoned and killed in the most brutal ways on a regular basis by Iranian intelligence and Iranian revolutionary guards. Journalists and human rights activists who have dared to speak up have been also been silenced, imprisoned or killed. These harsh conditions have caused more and more Ahwazi's to leave and settle in Europe. Thousands of Ahwazi refugees reside alongside Palestinians in Al-Waleed camp, Iraq and others have fled over the border to Kuwait and Syria.

This year 40 people have been executed in Al-Ahwaz in January and February alone. The "opposition" Green Movement who Ahwazi's believe are really a clique within the regime is now adopting the racist poems of Mostafa Badkoobei to attack the Arabs. Thus, the Ahwazi population is being attacked from both pro government and opposition groups which make them more vulnerable.

This week, Sunni Imam, Adel Muhammad Al Tamimi was hanged in public for calling on Ahwazi's to protest; a clear warning from Iran to the protesters who planned to protest peacefully on Friday 14th April 'Day of Fury’. If the Arab liberation movements that have sparked rebellion in Al-Ahwaz are successful they could sweep away the sole source of Iran's power: the oil wells and pipelines, the black veins that allow the Iranian regime to remain powerful than any other Arabs - more than Libya or Egypt - Ahwazi Arabs could change history by rising up against their oppressors in Tehran.

It is worth mentioning; Amjad Taha Yassin, spokesperson for the Ahwazi organization for the defense of Human Rights stated that in the recent peaceful demonstrations in Ahwaz the death toll rose to more than 64 people. He also reported that on Friday (06-05-2011) 9 young men were hanged in the Ahwaz city.

Names of those who have been killed by Iranian revolutionary guards on Friday( 06-05-2011):

1. Ahmad Ryassan Salami died under torture
2. Abdul Karim Fahad died under torture
3. Ejbarah Tamimi 21 years old
4. Ameir Badawi 20 years old
5. Ibrahim Ma'aweih 18 years old
6. Mansor Hayader 19 years old
7. Jasem Hayader 23 years old
8. Ali Hayader 25 Years Old
9. Naser Hayader 21 years old all three above are brothers and are from Malashyah city east Ahwaz capital

And recently on Saturday at 8:45am iran executed 2 Ahwazi citizen who where suni Arab Muslim

10. Hashem Hamidi 16 years old, his Head was cut off during execution_ his waz left handed disable and orphan

11. Ahmad Nwasri 21 years old and on ( 12 may would’ve been 22 birthday ), whos a father of 2 months years old daughter

As winds of revolution blow across the Middle East and North Africa, the world anxiously waits to watch what will happen in Al-Ahwaz, a secret no longer.


Miss Sumaiya Farooq, http://www.minorityvoices.org/news.php/en/715/al-ahwaz-irans-best-kept-dirty-secret

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