Environmental catastrophe: Iran destroys millennia-old marshes in Ahwaz region for oil
About 80 percent of Falahiyeh Marshes have been damaged. Sources told Ahwaz Monitor that the damage was so severe as to compel local residents dwelling in nearby villages to migrate.
The marshes cover an area of around 527 thousand kilometres and are home to fish, birds and wildlife populations. Half of the populations in Falahiyeh have long been dependent on the wetlands ecosystem. Sources said the government’s policies aimed to deliberately dry up the marshes, pushing some 30,000 of the local Arab population to migrate.They added that the Iranian regime is carrying out “forced displacements by drying up the marshes”. The authorities ushered in specialist teams to search for oil after draining the wetlands. They appointed a Persian firm named Arvandan to search for oil in the region.The sources called on international institutions concerned with the environment and human rights to intervene to save this important environmental site and rescue the Ahwazi citizens for whom the marshes are essential for their livelihood.It is worth mentioning that the Falahiyeh Marshes are some of the largest on the planet. They abound with natural resources. According to the Ramsar International Convention, these were once the fifth largest on the planet. But deliberate negligence by the Iranian government and the drilling of oil wells has resulted in massive loss of the wetlands, and by the area they are now ranked as only the 22nd largest.
A resident of the local Arab population stated that, “More than 80% of the 570,000-hectare wetlands of Falahiyeh are now dried out completely and they’ve become salt flats. The wetlands’ transformation has created a looming threat of suffocating salt storms in the coming months. This catastrophe has ravaged the life of birds, fish, plants, and animals in at least 327,000 hectares of the land. These Falahiyeh wetlands now share the same awful fate as the wetlands of Hor-Alazim. Both are being completely destroyed. No one in a position of power seems to care enough to intervene and stop the Iranian regime from massacring wildlife and humans in this way”.The source also added that ongoing discrimination and negligence deprive 38 villagers in the Shaaour rural district of drinking water.
Deliberate discrimination and negligence practiced by the Iranian regime deprived 38 villages of Shaaour rural district of drinking water, sources told Ahwaz Monitor.They said that there is no network for drinking water installed in this village, while the Persian settlers are offered the best services.The sources also revealed the local residents are those who sporadically bring water to this village, which they bring in tanks. According to them, all the calls by local residents to solve this problem have gone unheeded.This crisis exacerbated the already deteriorating humanitarian situation.Moreover, the Iranian authorities threatened to arrest those citizens calling for a solution if they did not stop complaining.Most villages in the area are facing similar woes, the sources went on to say.They warned of the regime’s policies of racial discrimination against the Ahwazis in favor of the Persian settlers.The sources urged the international community to step in to end the tragedies experienced by the Arab people of Ahwaz in the south and south-west of the country. These people are tormented under the Iranian occupation, while the international community and human rights organizations remain silent, the sources concluded.