Mar 06, 2008

Ahwazi: Iran Guilty of Land Confiscations

Ahwazi Arabs are being displaced from prime agricultural land as the spread of government farms twists Iran’s demography.

Ahwazi Arabs are being displaced from prime agricultural land as the spread of government farms twists Iran’s demography.

Below is an article published by the Iranian Minorities’ Human Right Organisation:

Land confiscation in Ahwaz continues by making new town of in north of Ahwaz called Gotwand . This is new town after Ramin, Shirin Shahr and Hore Ryahi towns built in recent years.

Ramin town built on confiscated land from Sanicheh and Jalieh villages, both belongs to indigenous Ahwazi Arab. 

Arab indigenous of Ahwaz is facing more land loosing every year. Last settlement during last Shah of Iran set up in 1975, called Yazde No (new Yazd). Since 1989 and just after finishing the 8 year war between Iran and Iraq during the presidency of Rafsanjani, land confiscation started. Reza Washahi, researcher on minorities in Iran, told IMHRO. 

“Rafsanjani ordered […the] building […of] huge sugar cane farms in area. As result of purification of salt of that land, water of cities like Abadan became unhealthy and salty [… and protests] in Abadan broke out. Many still missing.”


During Khatemi and Ahmadinejad period land confiscation increased. In 2005 letter came out revealing government intention of changing demography of area by building more towns […and the] government violated peaceful protest in Ahwaz


Government using those lands for sugar cane farms, new towns, industrial states and military aims. The land we talking here is not just ordinary land, one of the main world energy reserves is under it. In most cases government did not paid any compensation to indigenous Arab Ahwazi land owners.

New towns built for non indigenous which are mostly Persian, have better facilities such as electricity, gas, and healthy water than old cities of Arab indigenous and this is in the time which According to Iranian news agency iscanews, at least 400 thousand leaving in shanty town in suburb of Ahwaz city. 

Yet Iranian government making it easier for new comers in Ahwaz area to settle down by giving them law interest mortgage for buying house and lands. In recent years government set up many building societies for this aim.

Building every new town means new wave of settlers to Ahwaz area, more jobs for non indigenous Arabs, more poverty and pollution for indigenous Ahwazi Arabs. Added Reza Washahi.

Land confiscation is criminal act which exercise on indigenous Arab Ahwazi land. IMHRO strongly condemning building new town and settlement in Ahwaz area.

Kidnapping farmers and forcing them to sign a paper is very common in confiscating land in Ahwaz.


Oil and gas rich area of Ahwaz is home land of at least 5 million Arabs. In recent year’s suppression of Iranian government increased. Since uprising of Ahwazi people in 2005 many had arrested and at least 20 people are known to have executed since then. Various human right organisations estimated that number of killed are much higher.

Land confiscation by government is the other source of tension. Government forced many Arab farmers to leave their land without and compensations. Those land then used for new towns and industrial area employed by non indigenous Arabs.

Although About 85% of Iranian revenue comes from this area, Iranian government and parliament refused to spent 1% of it in area.  Unemployment is high and above national average.

Heavily oil and petrochemical industry in area causing pollution in area. Last year reported mercury found in dead birds in Ahwaz.