A long dispute between Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and the Heritage Authority at the predominantly Arab province of [Arabistan] ended with the demolition of the palace of Feilieh, one of the landmarks of Ahwazi culture.
A military force destroyed the palace of Sheikh Khazaal al-Kaabi, the ruler of the then semi-autonomous Sheikhdom of Muhammarah. The mansion, which overlooks the Shatt al-Arab waterway, is commonly known as the Feilieh Palace and is considered an integral part of the Ahwazi heritage.
The Feilieh Palace was built in 1917, eight years before the end of Arab rule in the [Arabistan], and was listed as a cultural heritage site under the number 2845.
The demotion of the Feilieh Palace demonstrates the growing chauvinistic attitude of the Iranian regime towards the Arab minority as well as the collaboration of the authorities in Khuzestan, said Yousef Azizi, Ahwaz journalist and human rights activist and secretary general of the Association against Anti-Arab Discrimination in Iran.
“Some officials in the province of [Arabistan] try to cater to the needs of the Iranian government and they did that to satisfy their accomplices in Tehran,” he told Al Arabiya.net.
“The main purpose of the Iranian government is to erase the Arab heritage in Iran through demolishing all proof of its existence.”
Azizi added that the demolition is also motivated by the government plan to take advantage of the priceless land on which the palace was located.
“Because of the corruption that pervades its institutions, the Revolutionary Guard is not only dominating political decision making but also the economy.”
The Feilieh Palace, Azizi added, is not the first cultural site that suffers this fate. The government also demolished the palace of Sheikh Abdul-Hamid, son and heir of Sheikh Khazaal al-Kaabi in the city of Ahwaz, the capital of Arabistan, and turned it into a parking lot.
“The government also demolished another palace that belonged to Prince Khazaal in the city of Al-Hamidiya north of Ahwaz city. It was leveled to the ground,” Azizi said.
Sheikh Khazaal al-Kaabi
Prince Khazaal was known for his ties with neighboring Arab countries and his calls for an Arab unity before the emergence of the concept of nation-state. Among the Arab leaders he met were Saudi King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah.
Although the Bani Kaab tribe, from which Prince Khazaal hails, waged war on Kuwait in 1783, they established friendly ties 120 years later during the reign of the prince, who built a palace in Kuwait next to the Dasman Palace.
The Kuwaiti National Council for Culture and Arts has recently renovated the Prince Khazaal Palace in commemoration of the Ahwaz-Kuwaiti relations.
EAHRO and many international Human Rights oganistations understand that Iran has systematically persecute Ahwazi Arabs, using execution, imprisonment, torture, land confiscations and a wide range of measures designed to impoverish and drive out Indigenous Ahwazi Arabs and their historical motherland.