The ongoing months-long protests in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province, especially the city of Ahvaz, remain a nightmare haunting the ruling Iranian regime, which has so far refused to give the people of Ahvaz their rights and improve their living and economic conditions, with the Iranian forces and Revolutionary Guards continuing to suppress and muzzle Ahvazi citizens.
On July 16, Khuzestan province witnessed protest marches in various cities, including Ahvaz, Abadan, Bostan, Susangerd and Bandar Mahshahr, to demand a solution to the problem of water cuts, which was exacerbated by the mullah government’s draining of Ahvaz, where five major rivers flow, due to Its construction of dozens of dams on the tributaries and its diversion to the central Iranian provinces, which led to the deterioration of the living conditions of citizens.
With the continued delay of the monthly salaries of Ahvazi workers for more than three months, their failure to obtain their job rights, and the poor working and economic conditions, workers, especially those working in oil and petrochemical plants, went on strike on July 17 in protests to demand the ruling regime pressure employers to pay their overdue salaries.
Despite the foregoing, the Iranian police, who were present en masse in Ahvaz, used all their repressive tools to disperse these protests, by shooting at the demonstrators, which led to the killing of a demonstrator in the Al-Falahiya area of Ahvaz, resulting in the intensification of the protests. The demonstrators’ insistence on continuing to demand their rights until they are realized prompted the head of the Iranian judiciary to send a delegation to Ahvaz, but for the sake of security dealing with the protesters.
Not only that, but pro-regime Khuzestan Governor Qasem Dashtaki came out to make allegations that some videos published on social media about protests in Khuzestan province are fake and false.
This raises several questions about the fate of those protests and the ways in which the Iranian regime dealt with the people of Ahvaz. Dr. Masoud Ibrahim Hassan, a researcher specializing in Iranian affairs, explained that the crimes of the Iranian occupation against the Arab Ahvazi people have not stopped since the occupation of Ahvaz in 1925. Violence, killings and arrests continued, and the Iranian regime began forcible displacement operations against this people, trying to bring about demographic change in the region through the operations of replacing the Arab component with Persians.
In an exclusive statement to the Reference, Ibrahim Hassan said that in recent years, the Iranian regime began diverting the course of torrential rains in Ahvaz, where there are fertile agricultural lands and the largest oil and gas wells, which caused great losses to the agricultural sector in this region. Now, the regime has begun to use new methods such as draining the rivers that pass through these lands.
Hassan added that the Arab Ahvazi people and their protests will not stop until they obtain their right from the oppressive Iranian regime led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has deprived them of the good things that exist in their land and prevented from working in oil companies, while those who are allowed to work are deprived of their salaries for months.