Iran builds more apartheid settlements for non-Arabs in Arab Ahwaz region

Iranian regime authorities in the Arab Ahwaz region have announced that another 1,400 homes in settlements constructed for non-Arab residents will be handed over by the end of this year.

While the regime ensures that most of the indigenous Arab Ahwazi people in the region,  which contains 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran, continue to live in conditions of  medieval poverty and to be denied the most basic facilities, such as running water, the regime continues with a massive program of settlement-building for non-Arab Iranians, who are offered homes with all amenities,  along with well paid jobs denied to the indigenous people in an effort to alter the region’s demographic composition.  Although the regime continues to promote itself as an opponent of Israel’s policies of oppression and settlement-building in occupied Palestine, its own oppressive policies and abuse of Ahwazi Arabs in Iran, who comprise 10 percent of the population there, are indistinguishable.

Kazem Aslani, the director of the regime’s Roads and Urban Development Administration office in the regional city of Abadan announced in a statement issued last week that the latest batch of 1,400 new homes would be handed over to applicants by the year’s end, revealing that the Mehr Housing Foundation, the regime body primarily responsible for settlement-construction, is working to build a total of 5,000 in the Abadan area.Talking about the 5,000 settlement homes which the Mehr Housing Foundation is working on, Aslani’s statement said, “Of this total, 2,000 housing units have already been delivered to those who registered their names and paid the required deposits. By the end of this year, another 1,400 housing units will be completed in Abadan.”

Citing the latest information from the Mehr Foundation, Aslani said the foundation is still working to complete  laying of cables and pipelines providing electricity, sewerage and other utilities and services to the homes in the new settlement, as well as  finishing work on street-paving; this work should be completed by the year’s end, he  added.  In his statement, the senior official also revealed that regime authorities will provide the new settlement with its own dedicated security and police service, saying, “We have provided a specific area of land for the police service in Abadan city to establish a branch in these housing units paid for by a government fund estimated at 1.5 billion Iranian Riyals, which will maintain security in these settlement units.”

Aslani’s statement further revealed that the racist settlement will have its own shopping arcade consisting of 14 shops. The statement further revealed that the Mehr Foundation has so far handed over 63,138 units of the 106,000 which regime authorities plan to build in the Ahwaz region for non-Arab Iranian settlers. Although the foundation, which is one of the bodies under the command of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), does not officially state its primary objective, it is an open secret that its main aim is to change the Arab Ahwazi region’s demographic composition in order to marginalise the oppressed indigenous Arab people in favour of Persian settlers.

Despite the regime’s settlement-building policy being wholly illegal under both international law and the founding charter of the United Nations, there is no international effort, in Ahwaz region as in occupied Palestine, to challenge or end this blatantly racist injustice. Although the regime offers incentives to attract Persian Iranians to live in the region, including  good jobs and homes in specially built, well-appointed settlements furnished with all amenities, these are denied to the indigenous Arab people who are denied even the most basic amenities and are forbidden to live in these settlements, instead living in conditions of medieval poverty; this is despite the fact that over 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran are located in the Ahwazi region. The regime’s settlement-building policy in Ahwaz, as with its wider persecution, oppression and systemic injustice towards the Ahwazi Arabs, continue to expose the contemptible dishonesty of its empty claims to represent resistance to oppression in Palestine or anywhere else.

Most statistics and evidence show that the government has put more focus on changing the demographic structure of Al-Ahwaz. Because they know well that a divided and heterogeneous nation is no longer able to stand against colonialism for this reason, the government has ever since been targeting the Ahwazi Arab nation from the inside.It is a silent killer policy.overseen by two notorious IRGC characters, Mohsen Rezaei and Hamid Zanganeh, aimed at exterminating the entire Ahwaz population, and it has been pursued in the form of changing the demographic structure of Ahwaz.  This inhuman act is conducted without adequate news reflection or attention. In silence, its annihilating consequences are disintegrating the Ahwazi nation from the inside.

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