Jan 04, 2005

Ahwazi: the Controversial Iranian-Chinese Oil Deal!

Do not let China get away with $ 90 billion bribe from the Iranian Mullahs at the expense of the Indigenous Ahwazis
Untitled Document The following is an article that was submitted to the Washington Post for publication on December 14, 2004, in response to an editorial report in the Post on December 6, 2004 titled “Facing Iran”

To the Editor: The Washington Post

The Dec 6, editorial “Facing Iran correctly states “the Iranian Government needs foreign investment and trade to prop up its economy” and The U.S-EU policy of “good cop, bad cop”. Accordingly and pursuant to its “bad cop”
role, the U.S shouldn¹t allow China get away with 90 billion dollar bribe from the Mullahs in Iran to “prop up its economy”.

According to China¹s Xinhua news agency, On 30 October, 2004, China¹s large oil firm SINOPEC signed an accord with Iran to buy 250 million tons of LNG worth $20 billion, and to develop the giant YADAVARAN (Koshk-Husseienh) oil field in the Iran¹s southwestern province of Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz) worth $ 70 billion.

This deal was announced a few days after China’s foreign minister Li Zhaoxing publicly declared China¹s opposition to referring Iran¹s nuclear program to the UN Security Council.

Obviously, this huge contract and the economic concession is a bribe that Tehran has offered to Beijing in return for China’s support to use it’s veto power in the UN Security Council should the United States refer Iran’ nuclear issue to the Council for its continuous secret effort to process enriched uranium and accelerate building a nuclear bomb. Furthermore, Tehran seems to be looking into the future and hedging its bet by replacing China with EU as its trading partner, in case of an economic sanction by the West.

China is already Iran¹s top advanced weapon supplier, including cutting edge missile technology and weaponization of nuclear, chemical and biological materials.

What is important that was lost and never mentioned in this controversial deal is the fact that the historical and legal owners of the land under which the newly discovered “Yadavaran” oilfield is located, belongs to the indigenous Arab farmers of Hussinieh and Kushk villages in Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz). Upon the discovery of oil there on July 3, 2004, the government of Iran changed the ethnic Arabic name of the area from Hussienieh-Kush to the Persian name “Yadavaran” and contrary to international law forcefully expropriated the land.

In fact, a large part of Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz) province where 80% of Iran oil originates and where ³Yadavaran² oilfield is discovered, is the ancestral land of aboriginal Ahwazi Arabs who have lived there for thousands of years.
And despite these facts, they have been deliberately kept impoverished by successive Iranian regimes so that they would dislocate elsewhere to help change demographic factors.

Moreover, Iran’s argument that it needs nuclear energy to produce electricity is baseless. There are hundreds of free-burning gas wells in the oil rich Khuzestan that can fuel large numbers of conventional power plants and also provide the much needed jobs and economic development to the 4-5 million indigenous ethnic Arabs of al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) province.

As for China, it must abide by the UN Human Rights’ concepts and principles that require “Prior, Informed and Free Consent” of the indigenous peoples and communities affected by any such “development” deals.

As long as the Chinese and Iranian Governments do not recognize the legitimate rights of these ethnic Arab people and do not acquire their informed consent, these oil and gas accords will contradict the very essence of the UN's Human Rights Declaration, and hence must be abrogated.
Otherwise, this deal will only strengthen and provide financial ability for the conservatives and fundamentalists in Iran, who are committed to the proliferation and use of atomic weapons and other weapons of mass destruction as they also, continue persecuting the Ahwazi Arabs--and other ethnic groups.

Karim Abdian (Banisaid)
Executive Director,
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization-USA