Anti Socio-Environmental policies in Ahwaz

ImageThis is the second post in a series of two by Rahim Hamid, on the serious lengths the Iran regime is going to in Ahwaz to damage the environment and consequently, the livelihoods of many thousands of men, women and children living in this region:

Water and Sanitation

“Having access to safe drinking water and sanitation is central to living a life in dignity and upholding human rights. Yet billions of Ahwazi Arab people still do not enjoy these fundamental rights.

Although Ahwaz has huge water resources, (about 33% of Iran’s total), the region is suffering from a serious water crisis. The water crisis has caused by ecological mismanagements of Karoon River; the largest river flow through Ahwazi lands .since 1979, Iranian revolution, and the karoon has faced more than 400 incidents of serious contamination. Beside the policy of land confiscation, a parallel policy against Ahwazis is being practiced that is diverting water of main river course in Ahwaz such as Karoon, Al-karkha, and Al-Jarrahi and pumping it to central Persian areas such as Isfahan, Yazd and Kareman for the purpose of irrigation. This happens while they deprive the Arab farmers of utilizing this water and make their struggle for survival very difficult and very frustrating. Periodically they fabricate flood via their dams that are known as Arab killer Dams that have been constructed for this purpose in order to demolish the infrastructure of Ahwazi Arab villages and their fertile lands to restrict their brutal circle force on Ahwazi Arabs farmers to abandon their lands and look for other alternatives for make living. They consequently facilitate the displacement of Arab people and confiscations of their arable lands and demolition of Arabian villages and the countryside of Ahwaz.

River diversion project

Environmental campaigners in Ahwaz City formed a human chain along the Karoon River in the current days in protest at the river diversion project.

The drying of the River Karoon is becoming a rallying point for Ahwazi Arabs, who   accuse the Iranian regime of presiding over an ecological disaster on a par with the destruction of the Amazon.

The mega-project involves the construction of dams and tunnels to divert water away from Iran’s largest river which flows through the city and is essential for farming, drinking water and the local ecology. Controversy surrounds the Koohrang-3 tunnel, which is currently under construction and is set to transfer 255 million cubic metres of water per annum to Zayandeh Rood in Isfahan. The diverted waters will be used for agro-industrial projects, instead of irrigating traditional Arab lands where food staples are grown, such as rice and wheat. Already, three tunnels transfer around 1.1 billion cubic metres of water from the Karoon and its tributaries to Isfahan every year.

Currently, there are seven dams and tunnels diverting Karoon’s water with a further 19 dams under construction as well as 12 dams on Karkheh river basin and five dams on Jarrahi river basin. Twelve of these dams have built in Lorestan province in the Karoon and Karkheh basins, which store 800 million cubic metres for local use. Two dams have built in Ilam province on Karkheh river basin with annual storage capacity 1.04 billion cubic metres. Three dams have been built in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province on Jarrahi River with annual capacity of 1.24 billion cubic metres. So far, 25 dams with total capacity of 10.44 billion cubic metres have into operation in the Karoon basin. These dams are located in Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari province, Lorestan province and the north part of Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan).

Due to the dam projects, around half the Karoon’s water flow is now waste water. This will reach 90 per cent when Iran’s dam building project is completed, according to Iranian scientists. The Karkheh and Jarrahi tributaries are now almost dried up and Ahwazi activists fear the Karoun – Iran’s only navigable river – will now dry up. Already, the region’s marshlands on which many Ahwazi Arabs traditionally depend for their livelihoods are a fraction of their former size due to the dam projects. Because of the dam projects, the Ahwazi environment will be destroyed and Ahwazi Arab will be forced to move to other cities in addition to contracting intestinal and renal diseases and different kinds of cancer… This will speed up the Iranian colonial plan of ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs.”

Rahim Hamid


The Distorted Media Coverage of Press TV against Ahwazi activists: Written by: Rahim Hamid

Iranian Refugees would like to draw your attention to this post, by Journalist Rahim Hamid.  The Iran regime are increasingly persecuting Ahwazi people and here, in Rahim’s words, is what is happening:

“When the regime failed to silence the outcry of Ahwazi people, they initiated different policy as a vicious scheme to distort the real vision of Ahwazi activists to perpetrate a massive systematic liquidation against the Ahwazi activists. Therefore, the regime deployed Press TV to wage distorted media to fabricate the Ahwazian activism and accuse them of being foreign stooges and having relation with terrorism acts.  It is clear that the Iranian regime through its vast unlawful system isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime.

From 2009 the regime seized Press TV, the English speaking channel as an opportunity to deem the Ahwazi Activist as ‘wrong-thinkers,’ ‘wrongdoers,’ or have acquired ‘wrong-knowledge’ or have engaged in ‘wrong-associations in which led them to be lost in darkness, to derail the public eyes of discovering the reality.

Some Ahwazi families reported that their detainees allegedly subjected to tortures, malnutrition, force labor in Prison, and to other cruel and unusual punishments before they pushed to confess forcibly on Air in front of the cameras of Press TV. 

Many Ahwazi Arab prisoners endured televised confessions by Press TV and accused of indiscriminate murder or as accessories to murder. 

The Ahwazi human rights defense organization documented the wave of arbitrary arrests of Ahwazi Arab activists during January and February2012, the number that have been escalating excessively ever since  . In the city of Shush alone, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence arrested more than 30 people who were actively engaged in supporting and advertising the boycotting of March 2012 Parliamentary elections. Soon after these arrests, which led to detention of over 60 people in the province of Ahwaz, some reliable sources close to the families of some of the detainees reported that at least two of the protestors were killed under tortures while in custody at the detention centers.

The severe violations of the rights of the Arab detainees, the complete silence of the official news agencies inside the country about the events of Ahwaz,  , as well as the detainees’ families’ lack of information regarding their fate, compelled the Ahwazis activists to begin researching the matter.

Shortly after this event, Press TV broadcasted a report which included interviews with some of the Arab detainees of Ahwaz—individuals who had been held at an undisclosed location, even unknown to their next of kin, for nearly two months. In its report, Press TV introduced the detainees as terrorists and attempted to invalidate the reports of human rights organizations and activists’ reports.


Press TV broadcasting was also part of its long-standing effort to introduce human rights activists as terrorists or supporters of terrorist activities in an attempt to undermine their documentation and reporting of human rights violations in Iran. As the propaganda arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Press TV has repeatedly violated professional standards of independence and neutrality of the media. It has further deprived individuals and organizations subject to Press TV’s libel and false accusations from their right to reply, a fundamental right according to international regulations governing the media. Meanwhile, many of the individuals falsely accused by Press TV are either in prison and unable to respond or speak in their own defense, or are forced into silence due to security concerns. The close ties and collaboration between Press TV and the security and intelligence apparatus in Iran has caused fear among the individuals residing outside of Iran whose professional or personal dignity has been targeted by the Press TV’s programs. Such individuals refrain from filing any official complaints against the satellite station or even engaging Press TV in a discussion out of fear for their own safety outside of the country or that of their family within Iran.

Upon its establishment, Press TV announced that it intends to be the “voice of the voiceless.” However, five years after it began broadcasting, the conduct of Press TV must be criticized for having in fact violated the rights of the voiceless. Furthermore, Press TV, as a legal entity, and all its officials, as individuals, must be held accountable for the violation of the rights of detainee’s citizens.

In recent days, the  Ahwazi Arab activists of Intellectual–Cultural youth institute of Shush city accused of being terrorist network by the Press TV channel after this channel broadcasted some fabricated and self-made accusations against these Ahwazi activists. In the recent years the intelligence service have been allegedly targeted the Ahwazi political and the cultural class by accusing them of being terrorists and for justifying its oppressive agenda against the Ahwazi activists deliberately deploy Press TV channel to push the Ahwazi activists on air to confess of having links to some terrorists’ related acts.

Apparently, the aim of collaboration of the intelligence service and the press TV is as a last step of deceiving the world that the Ahwazi Arabs activists are terrorists.

The propaganda media campaign of Iran regime against Ahwazi activists aims to portray a fake and distorted vision of the Ahwazi cause in  abroad to make the Ahwazi cause turn to be a victim among the political, civil and humanitarian organizations.

In fact, the press TV channel violates its sense of moral duty in discovering the reality and in a bias act colluded with the intelligence service to oppress the Ahwazi activists by releasing some fake confessions of Ahwazi activists. 

In the recent days, the press TV channel repeated its old shameful scenario by showing some Ahwazi detainees on air to document systematic distorted media coverage for the viewers that Ahwazi Arabs are involve in vandalistic, terrorist actions.

We as Ahwazi political and human rights activists strongly condemn these oppressive strategies against Ahwazi Arab people who have raised their pen to struggle against the oppression, the ethnic cleansing, the lands confiscation and many others grievances since the martially occupation of their lands.

The Ahwazi activists and the founders of the Intellectual–Cultural youth institute in Shush city were striving to promote and teach the Arabic language and the Arabic culture in their historic city of Shush as the Arabic language had been denied and repressed in Ahwaz for over three quarters of a century. These Arab youth activists also organized celebrations and poetry events in their towns during their own holidays to raise awareness of the discrimination that Ahwazi Arabs face in Iran. The other accomplishment of this the Intellectual–Cultural youth institute in Shush city was providing the students with complementary educational programs in the region to assist the Ahwazi Arabs student of high school to get into university as an example 45 deprived rural females managed to enter to university and the gradual increase of Arab students activists at Abdel Khan university.

It is worth to mention that the founders and activists of this cultural institute, who were more than 25 men and women, were mostly cultural, civil, poet and teacher activists that had been arrested in 2011 when they urged people to participate in Friday prayer and organizing poetry nights as a celebration that was coincided with Eid Ramadan in Ahwaz and many Muslim countries. And After few weeks the intelligence service set them free.  It is the nature of the oppressive Iranian regime policy to be afraid of any folk gathering as it used to silence any peaceful protest or gathering   in Ahwaz region.

On 11/11/2012, after the oil pipeline explosion in shush city, 8 activists and founders of this cultural institute had been arrested by the intelligence service and some of them had been released on heavy bails .but three of them after 8 month are still kept in the solitary confinement of intelligence service that accused of being involved into vandalism acts.

The name of these pre- detainees and prisoners are as follow:

1: Ali Chibyshate at the age of 46 is from shush city of Ahwaz had been arrested on 11/11/2012 along with his two sons, Hossien (28 years old, married with one child ,arrested along with his father and set free on bail ) and Salah Aldin (22 years old, single, arrested along with his father and set free on bail ) with dozens of activists such as Syed Yassin Mousavi (34 years old ,married and is still in the prison), Habib Silawi ( 31 years old and arrested on 11/11/2012 and set free on bail), Salman Chyan(32 years old, the son of Mashhut and arrested on 11/11/2012and set free on bail) and Mohammad Chyan( 30 years old and arrested on 11/11/2012 and set free on bail) and Karim Chyan ,(34 years old ,the son of Abu rose , has master degree in geography ,geography teacher ,arrested on 11/11/2012 and set free on bail) and Ashur Shakemli(33years old, single ,arrested on11/11/2012 and set free on bail) because of their engagement in political, cultural and religious activities. The local activists quoted to us that Ali Chibyshate was savagely and cruelly tortured physically and psychologically that his ribs got broken and they even pulled out his nails feet  and tortured his two sons in front of his eyes to let him to give up to their accusations.

These prisoners after 8 month of being tortured and jailed in solitary confinement have been denied the right of having access with lawyer. The Ahwazi activists are in a grave concern that these Ahwazi detainees (Ali Chibyshate, Syed Yassin Mousavi and Salman Chyan) would face with harsh and unfair sentences as the Iran regime English speaker press TV channel broadcasted their fabricated and fake confessions of these prisoners on 26/6/2013. While the revolutionary court of Ahwaz has not issued sentences against these detainees, showing their extracted confessions in Press TV is a start for issuing death penalty or likely life imprisonment against them.

The intelligence service along with Press TV in a fabricated documentary program brought the family members of these detainees to their office and shown them the confessions of these detainees of being involved into the pipe gas and oil blast in Shush city to persuade the families detainees that their relative detainees are pro_ vandalism, terrorism actions as a start to execute them or sentence them to life imprisonment.

While at the same time, the chief executive of Gas and Oil Company of Ahwaz said that the gas pipeline blast was because of technical accident and has denied any sabotage.

The judicial systems along with Press TV are pursuing systematic distorted media coverage to describe the Ahwazi activists as terrorists to execute them.   The execution of Arab activists has continued from 2005 to date. The last case was in June 2011 when four Arab activists (three of whom were brother), Abas Hadrian, Taha heidarian, Abdul-Rahman Hadrian, and Ali Naemimi (sharfi), executed in karoon prison. Through a video recording they released to the public (which they took secretly prior to their execution with a smuggled mobile phone), they announced that their confessions were basically false and extracted from them under sever duress and unspeakable torture .their death sentences had been issued based on their confessions ,which were aired on program on Press TV.”