Ahwaz Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Haideri has issued an unprecedented wide-ranging attack on the Iranian government's treatment of Ahwazi Arabs during a visit of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs this week.
Haidari highlighted the impact of land confiscation for the sugar cane industry, the diversion of the River Karoon's waters to other provinces and soaring unemployment among the local population due to discrimination in the workplace. The preacher, who is an Arab, has voiced the concerns of many Ahwazi Arabs, although those who take up any activism to rectify the situation are often arrested,
Ayatollah Haidari pointed out that the government has taken hundred thousands hectares of Ahwazi farmers lands for sugar cane plantations but Ahwazi Arabs did not get received compensation and have suffered joblessness as a result.
Haidari also indicated that the main reason behind unemployment was the policy of favouring non-local workers who are enticed with financial incentives that are not available to locals. Despite the province have large petrochemical and metal industries, human resource managers source labour from Tehran and other provinces, including those working in cleaning and security.
He pointed out that the petrochemicals plants at Mashar and Bandar Iman Port have recruited 70 per cent of their professional workers from outside the province.
Haidari also claimed that the diversion of the Karoon River to other parts of Iran to supply drinking water was denying water for Ahwazis farmers to grow crops. As a result Ahwazi farmers suffer increased poverty and destitution.