When Iran occupied Arabistan region north-west of the Arabian Gulf in 1925, it brazenly changed the name of the region to Khuzestan and made AAhwaz its capital. This occupation came to control a vast area extending from the Strait of Hormuz to the Iraqi border, having a population of more than 10 million people.
Thus the second largest oil and gas reserves in the world came under the control of the Iranian regime. The Arab people who live in this land remain in a state of ignorance, poverty and neglect, although 90 percent of the oil and gas in Iran comes from Ahwaz, and the region has a fertile terrain.
This occupation, that is about to complete a hundred years, exposes the reality of the Iranian regime. Ironically, this regime talks about the rights of the oppressed people and claims to supports the rights of the Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Bahrainis and others, even as suppresses the rights of its own supposed citizens!
In recent months, a series of protests have struck Arab Ahwaz and the southwestern region of Iran. Although protests are quite common here, but they have been occurring more frequently.
These protest are the result of the policy of racial discrimination which the Iranian regime practices against the Arab people in Ahwaz. These people are demanding their legitimate rights of leading a good life, of freedom and equality. Unfortunately, all these issues have evoked repressive measures — tear gas, arrests, daily executions.
Iran claims that it defends the rights of other peoples. However, its real motive is to expand its hegemony and fulfill its delusions of grandeur which we all know would never be achievedMohammed al-Hammadi
About a week ago, protests erupted in the region after Channel 2, television media outlet of Iran, purposely overlooked in a children’s TV program the presence of Arabs in Ahwaz. In the show, all Iranian provinces were shown with their peoples wearing their local dresses except for Ahwaz.
This mischief forced people of the region to hold demonstrations, as this was a clear manifestation of repression of the Arab identity of the region, which comes in the wake of Iran’s recent changing the names of the region’s places and preventing its people from learning and teaching Arabic.
Iran should respect the rights of the Arab people living in its territory, and preserve their rights before things gets out of control. Iran claims that it defends the rights of other peoples for “doctrinal” reasons.
However, its real motive is to expand its hegemony and fulfill its delusions of grandeur which we all know would never be achieved. The people of Ahwaz would not let surrender their rights, and the Palestinians do not want anything from the Iranian regime after realizing that it is only using their case.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al-Hammadi is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad newspaper and Executive Director of editing and publishing at the Abu Dhabi Media Company. He founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic edition of National Geographic magazine, and has held numerous positions in journalism since joining Al Ittihad in 1994. Al-Hammadi has been a columnist for more than 15 years, including writing a daily column for seven years and producing a weekly political column in Al Ittihad since 2001. He has also worked as a parliamentary editor for seven years, covering the proceedings of the Federal National Council in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to being an active participant on social networks, Al-Hammadi has an interest in new media and is currently working on a project to ease the transition from traditional to digital and smart media. Al-Hammadi has received numerous awards and is a member of a number of organizations and federations. He features regularly in broadcast media as a regional political commentator and has authored several books including Time of Ordeal (2008), The UAE Democracy (2009) and The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood (2016). Twitter: @MEalhammadi.