Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

Yet Again Iranian Parliament Overrides Assigning a Budget for Environmental Conservation

On Tuesday 14th of March , during the plenary session to discuss the annual budget in Iranian parliament , the proposal to assign  3% of  oil and gas revenues for development and conservation of environment in oil rich areas was denied by the objection of “Guardian Council of the Constitution” and the voting of the parliament  . 

“Guardian Council of the Constitution” announced that , as this proposal fails to mention the exact amount of funds to be dedicated to this project ,it is in contradiction with article 53 of Iranian constitution which states  “All sums collected by the government will be deposited into the government accounts at the central treasury, and all disbursements, within the limits of allocations approved, shall be made in accordance with law.”

Consequently the proposal was overruled after 149  members of parliament voted against , 14 voted in favore and 3 sustained. Iranian parliament has also in the past repeatedly voted against such proposal .

 “Guardian Council of the Constitution” is too keen to abide  by the  constitution that in its article50 states The preservation of the environment, in which the present as well as the future generations have a right to flourishing social existence, is regarded as a public duty in the Islamic Republic. Economic and other activities that inevitably involve pollution of the environment or cause irreparable damage to it are therefore forbidden.” 

However no real measure have been taken by the Iranian government to tackle the environmental situation and implement article 50 on the ground  ,especially in oil rich areas such as Al-Ahwaz region , the producer of up to 80% of Iran’s oil and gas.

Arab populated Arabistan province (Khuzestan as it is also called ) in oil rich south-west  ,is one of the most underdeveloped  provinces in Iran where discrimination ,poverty ,high unemployment and illiteracy rates and environmental pollution have pushed the locals to the edge . 

Past month hundreds of locals took the streets  for days in protest to the continuous dust and sand storms and pollution that resulted in water and electricity outages for several days in more than 11 cities of the province . 

Refusing to assign even 3% of oil revenues to the province and the well-being of its people and its  environment is illegal and is in clear contradiction with article 50 of Iranian constitution . 

“Minorities in Iran During Hassan Rouhani’s presidency“ a Panel in Swiss Parliament

On march 8th, the Swiss parliament hosted a conference for the representatives of different ethnicities in Iran . Prominent political and human rights figures including Dr. Karim Abdian , the senior advisor of Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA), Mustafa Hijri , Head of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) , Shirin Ebadi, human rights advocate and noble prize winner along with representative of Baluchistan , Azerbaijani Turk , Turkemen and a group of Swiss parliamentarians .

Dr. Abdian shared his views on the matter , here are some highlight of his speech during the event. "Ahwazi-Arabs, residing mainly in the southwest of Iran, in the province of Khuzestan or as called by its indigenous name, eghlim Al-Ahwaz or Arabistan, are an ethnic, national and linguistic minority in Iran. 
They are caught between an unfortunate phenomenon; they are subjected to racism due to historical Persian-Arab animosity.  Ahwazi-Arabs have been one of the excluded constituent nationalities and Socio-economically, among the most oppressed and rank at the bottom- estimated to be between 5-7 million or about 10% of the population. The regime changed the Arabic name to Persian one to deny their Arab identity. Ahwazi-Arab historical lands account for 90% of Iran’s oil GDP, yet they live in abject poverty.

Notwithstanding all that oppression and persecution, Ahwazis along with other non-dominant nationalities in Iran believe in non-violent struggle and indeed believe that this amazing diversity can be translated into unity to establish a just, democratic and a pluralistic society as the Swiss, the Indians and the Americans have done so.

No, during the presidency of Mr. Rouhani there has not been any progress, nor there will be should he be elected president in May. Because he, as other founders of the Islamic Republic, are of the belief that,  the minorities are secessionists  and hence a danger to the territorial integrity of Iran. 

here  I will show Iran’s recent “human rights council” book bout minorities and how Arabs are being totally ignored and eliminated , city by city , ethnicity by ethnicity only Arabs are excluded , I talked about this in Geneva during the minority forum , it is a blatant anti -Arab sentiment . 
I challenge the Swiss delegates or any European going to Iran to ask  Rouhani was it an accident that a majority Arab province was not mentioned in the report ? it is the regime’s agenda to forcibly assimiliate the Arabs ,and deny the Arabs their nationality and heritage .

 In response to a question related to foreign investment in Iran Abdian answered  :” first of all no investments ,investment helps the Iranian regime because it lets Iranian regime continue its suppression ,but should the Swiss or Europeans should invest these are the conditions : one ,avoid Tehran and Isfahan ,but go to minority areas , two try to impose a quota , it is really important at least 1/3 from the local indigenous population , the regime will resist it , third, the company should comply with environmental studies , Chinese company dump the pollution in the rivers, and having safety standards for workers , under these standards we encourage investment in Iran ."

Young Ahwazi Arabs Raise Awareness about their Cause in Amsterdam Famous “ Dam” Square

“Dam” which is Amsterdam’s main square is a well-known location for events and demonstrations and yesterday , a group of young Ahwazi Arabs living in Holland  gathered there with photos ,maps and Ahwaz flag to introduce the Ahwazi cause and their plight to pedestrians in Amestrdam’s most populated areas . 

Hossein Zayeri one of the participants who initiated this stand tells AHWAZ NEWS : “ I have the freedom of speech , freedom of assembly and I am the voice of my compatriots who can not raise theirs because they will be prosecuted ,  I have the opportunity to introduce my land and what my people suffer from  “ he adds “ this is a stand to show our solidarity with prisoners in Ahwaz and the unjust sentences and treatment our civil society activist are subjected to “ . 

One of the photos he holds is the photo of Mrs.Fahimeh Badwi , the school teacher who was arrested along with her husband  in November 2005 while she was 8 month pregnant . She gave birth to her daughter “Salma” in Ahwaz ministry of intelligence and was sentenced to 15 years in prison ,while husband was executed under the charge of “enmity against God “ a year after . 
Although Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation has called for her release various times, unfortunately Iran has systematically ignored the calls and refuses till this day . 

We asked Hossein if he would do this kind of stand again , he says “yes of course , it is something that we are thinking about doing it regularly , there were lot of people who were interested and I was more than happy to tell them about my hometown .“  

#Ahwaz Takes Over Instagram to Draw Attention to the Environmental Pollution

After it was announced that UNEP Executive Director, Erik Solheim  will visit Iran from 24th to 26th February of this year , Ahwazi people  took on Instagram and Twitter to ask Mr.Solheim to visit Ahwaz wetlands and called international organisations to find a solution for the problem of sand storms ,which for the past months has interrupted their everyday lives ,closed the schools and caused power outages throughout the province . 

As Iranian officials are reluctant to address these issues , civilians took on themselves to raise awareness about their situation in one of World’s most polluted cities according to World Heath Organisation (WHO) .  Ahwaz is the center of oil industries and the producer of up to 80% of Iran’s  crud oil ,meanwhile not even 1% of the oil revenues are assigned to the protection of the environment or the welfare of its habitants and the cities of the province which till this day carry the scars of the eight year war between Iraq and Iran. 

Majority Arab province of Khuzestan is without a doubt one of the most deprived provinces in Iran which has been systematically sidelined and marginalised both in the reign of the shah of Iran and by larger scale after the Iranian revolution 38 years ago . 

Without a doubt Instagram is one of the most popular apps that is used inside Iran and the people of Ahwaz use Instagram on daily bases to share their everyday struggle in the absence of clean air and water . 

Thousands of #Ahvaz could be seen under the videos and photos that were posted by UNEP Director ,asking Mr.Solheim to visit Ahwaz and shared their concerns with the worsening  environmental situation in the province  ,some users wrote “Ahwaz needs your help “,  “we can’t breath “ while others posted emojis in masks .

Unfortunately visit to Ahwaz was not scheduled in Mr. Solheim’s agenda .He stated in a video which he eventually posted after receiving the many comments of Ahwazis on Twitter and Instagram ,”he could only visit lake Urmia which was also hit by the sand and dust storms” .
 He stated the following in a video  “A message to Khuzestan “ which he posted on his personal Instagram account :

“ A big thanks to all you from great city of Ahwaz who have written to me to alert me about the horrible dust and sand storm which hit your city last week . I can’t visit you this time because we long agreed to go here “lake Urmia” which also was severely hit by the phenomenon of sand and dust storm ,but rest assure that i have used every opportunity to discuss the sand and dust storm  with Iranian authorities and rest assure that Iranian officials and UN have agreed to  do whatever we can to uplift this issue in the international agenda and get it stopped or reduced in the years to come , and for sure I  know you all good people in Ahwaz and Khuzestan really want to know what we can do to avoid  future sand and dust storms , I have two suggestions : Iran managing wetlands       ,manage water better than they are able to do today , and i know that the government of iran is really adamant  to make sure this happens , added building broad coalition ,Turkey ,Saudi Arabia ,Iraq  all those other nations ,that also have impact on the situation right here in Iran and together I am sure we can have enormous progress and thank you for all you are  doing and please for sure don't hesitate to contact us in United Nations and give suggestions about what we can do better.” 

Ahwazis also used the same medium to alert and contact the head of UNDP Iran ,Mr. Gary Lewis 
and sent him photos which demonstrated the magnitude of the pollution in the city .

Link to the video message by UNEP Executive Director to Ahwazi people :

photos posted by Instagram users from Ahwaz