Ahwazi: Diaspora Remembers April Uprising on 12th Anniversary
Photo courtesy of Ahwaz News
Members of the diasporic Ahwazi community and supporters gathered to honour those who were arrested, injured, and killed during the 15 April 2005 uprising in Ahvaz. The uprising occurred when Ahwazi Arabs staged a mass protest against Iran’s ‘ethnic restructuring’ plan, which came under public scrutiny when a document was leaked from the office of President Mohammad Khatami. The controversial document contained information regarding an enforced demographic reordering of Iranian society through the forced displacement of Ahwazi Arabs, coupled with a purge of their language and cultural traditions. This year’s  12th anniversary saw a demonstration of solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs facing systemic subjugation under the Iranian regime, from exploitative environmental degradation and neglected infrastructure to forced migration.
The article below was published by Ahwaz News:
Dozens of Ahwazis in London commemorated 12th anniversary of April uprising which took place in 15 April 2005. Following a leaked document from Khatami’s office, then Iran’s president, Ahwazi Arabs took the streets to condemn these policies. During protests in Ahwaz city Security forced opened fire on unarmed demonstrators and more than 20 Ahwazi were killed, 500 injured and 250 arrested.
The document, signed by former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi and written in 1999, suggests a time-frame of 10 years to accomplish the ethnic restructuring programme.
The document included plans to reduce the Arab population to around one-third of the province's total population through forced migration and eliminating all traces of Arab culture and language, including names of streets and towns.
Till this day the Iranian officials deny the existence of such letter and accuse foreign countries of plotting the uprising, however the situation on the ground and the reports from Ahwaz and Arab political and cultural activists confirms the discriminative policies of Tehran against the Arab population of Arabistan (Khuzestan).
Drought, pollution , discrimination, poverty and lack of development in Arab populated region in south-west of Iran, a region that produces up to 82 percent of Iran’s oil GDP has been pushing more and more Arabs to forcibly immigrate to other cities .Today the Arabic names of roads , streets and buildings are almost non-existent ,historical sites related to Arab culture and history are deserted and no fund is assigned to preserve them ,the right to choose Arabic names for your children (unless they are Islamic names ) and the right of education in Arabic are among hundreds and thousands of rights that the Arab population in Iran are deprived from.