Ahwazi-Arab rights activist calls on Iran ‘to restore Arabistan’
Minority Arab community of Iran’s southern region have protested against what they consider are injustices against them
The head of Ahwaz Human Rights Organization has called for Iranian officials to restore the original name of the country’s southern region of Khuzestan back to the original 600-year-old name of Arabistan.
Dr. Karim Abdian’s statements came during the United Nations Forum on Minority rights on Friday which focused on ethnic and minority people’s rights around the world.
“Ahwazi-Arabs or Arab minorities in Iran suffer from denial of its identity crises, among other socio-economic crises,” Abdian said.
“Iran is very diverse country where Kurds live in Kurdistan, Baloch in Baluchistan, Lor in Lorestan, Turkmen in Turkmenistan and so on - only Arabs province was changed – this was done as a part of ethnic cleansing and forceful assimilation,” he added.
Residing mainly in the southwest of Iran, Ahwazi-Arabs’ population is estimated to be 5-7 million or some 10 percent of the entire population.
Arab-majority Khuzestan accounts for up to 90 percent of Iran’s oil revenue, yet Ahwazi-Arabs live in near abject poverty.