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Bou Ali Sina Disaster: Ahwazi Religious Leader Calls For More Local Workers

Ahwaz's Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Mohsen Haidari has attacked discrimination in employment at the Bou Ali Sina Petrochemicals complex at Bandar Mahshahr which was this month the scene of a major industrial accident.

Haidari, who occupies the most senior religious position in Ahwaz, claimed in his khotba (speech) that 22 managers at the complex were non-locals (non-Arabs) and only four are of local origin (Arabs).

He claimed that the fire that destroyed a paraxylene tower was due to the failure to employ local staff, implying they would be less concerned with the welfare of people in the communities living near the plant.

There is also a lack of indigenous oil experts in the local oil industry with 70% recruited from other areas of Iran, he added.

An ethnic Arab, Haidari has pitted himself against the Iranian government's economic policies by repeatedly attacking discrimination against Arabs in his Friday sermons. In a wide-ranging critique delivered in a sermon in May, he highlighted the impact of land confiscation for sugar cane plantations, the diversion of the River Karoon and rising unemployment caused by discrimination.