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Iran floods Ahwaz Arabs out of their homes

The Iranian regime is allowing the flooding of land in Khuzestan, making it impossible for Ahwazi Arabs to farm or live there.

The Karoon and Karkhe rivers that flow through the province have flooded, although there has been no rain. A 170 km stretch of land from Ahwaz to Mohammara (Khorramshahr) is now under water, according to local politicians. The flooding has devastated crops just one month ahead of the harvest. Already suffering high levels of poverty due to racial discrimination and forced displacement, Ahwazi Arab farmers are facing hunger and homelessness as a result of the regime's refusal to prevent flooding. Most flood-affected Ahwazis are now either stranded on the roofs of their homes or living on roadsides.

Mohammad Said Ansari, a Conservative Majlis (parliament) representative for the Arab city of Abadan, said that the flooding has devastated Ahwazi Arab farms and attacked "bad policies". He alleged that the authorities had deliberately caused the flood by refusing to dredge and desilt the Karoon and Bahmanshir rivers. The government is trying to create the impression that the province has enough water reserves to divert water to dry provinces such as Rafsanjan, he said. Ansari has called for an immediate investigation into the cause of the rising water in Karoon and Karkhe and compensation and housing for those affected.

Reformist Majlis representative for Abadan, Abdullah Kaabi, is also campaigning for assistance for those made homeless by the floods. The Ministry of Energy and Power has ignored his repeated calls for the dredging of the Bahmanshir river and repairs to levees to prevent flooding. Kaabi concludes that the ministry is therefore directly responsible for the humanitarian disaster. He has also attacked emergency services for failing to intervene to alleviate the problems facing Ahwazi Arabs affected by floods.

Khuzestan Majlis members have already called for the impeachment of the Minister of Energy and Power Parviz Fattah over the diversion of the Karoon River to Rafsanjan. Click here for further details.

Ahwazi Arab representatives have long been campaigning against river diversion, but the Iranian government has continued to press ahead with the scheme. At a session of the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in May-June 2005, Karim Abdian, Director of Ahwaz Education and Human Rights Foundation, drew attention to the diversion of water from Karkhe River, which passes through an entirely indigenous Ahwazi Arab area of Howizeh and Boustan, to Kuwait and the diversion of the Karoon's water to central Iranian provinces.