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Arab market destroyed by Iranian forces while native Arab unemployment soars

Keyan Market in Ahwaz City, which is an important centre of commerce for impoverished Arabs, was burned down by Iranian security services on 14 February in spite of a soaring unemployment problem.

The police took the action after shop-keepers at the market refused to vacate their shops following an order by the local authorities, who had warned them not to object to the action.

A local source said: "The policy is not new and not surprising. The Iranian regime wants to harm and humiliate the Ahwazi Arabs. The regime not only arrests and executes Ahwazi Arab activists, it is also closing their independent sources of income from their farms and shops."

Unemployment among Ahwazi Arabs has soared due to the economic crisis. According to member of parliament Habib Aghajari, the unemployment rate in the cities of Mashour (Farsi: Mahshahr), Handian (Hendijan) and Emediyeh (Omidiyeh) has risen above 25 per cent. Aghajari called for a moratorium on recruitment of non-local people and reserve all jobs for residents of the area in order to resolve the unemployment problem.

Ahwaz member of parliament Shokrekhoda Mosavi recently claimed that 95% of people of Ahwaz City are unemployed. Mosavi raised the issue in the Iranian parliament in relation to Article 28 of the Iranian constitution, which states that all citizens have the right to choose their employment. His request for a debate was rejected by deputy speaker Mohammad Hassan Torabifard.

Daniel Brett, chairman of the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "The unemployment crisis among Arabs is being blamed by the Iranian regime on international sanctions. In reality it is the result of institutionalised ethnic discrimination and deliberate attacks on economic sectors on which the Ahwazi Arab population depends, such as farming, fishing and small businesses. The destruction of Keyan Market is another example of the regime's desire to economically marginalise the ethnic Arab population."