Outrage Over Brutal Assaults On Ahwazi Women Protesting Against Regime Land Theft



Iranian regime security forces brutally assaulted defenseless Ahwazi Arab women protesting against the regime’s illegitimate confiscation of their families’ farmlands earlier this week, arresting many of the women whose only ‘crime’ was to demand justice.  The regime military personnel reportedly deliberately hit the women in the mouths and chests with batons and rifle butts.

The regime forces’ horrific attacks began last Sunday (December 3, 2017) when  farmers from the area around the village of Jalizi in Ilam province  arrived at their fields nearby to begin plowing, only to be attacked by  heavily armed regime security personnel who had seized the land with no prior notification for use by the Iranian army’s ‘Atka’ organization.   The women present were also attacked by the regime forces when they protested at this injustice, being assaulted with batons, with the regime thugs also using tear gas against the people for complaining at the crimes being committed against them.

In the hours after the vicious unprovoked assaults, the regime security personnel appeared at the local Dahlran Hospital where many of the women had gone for treatment for their injuries and the effects of teargas inhalation, arresting a number of the women even as they received medical treatment.

Arab activists in Ahwaz launched a campaign on social media platforms in solidarity with the arrested female farmers of Jalizi village. The Activists posted photos of the arrested women, raising placards denouncing the Iranian regime’s repression of the villagers. They called on the authorities to immediately release them and cede the lands they illegally seized.

The Ahwazi rights groups said there are still 60 people of village’s residents including women in detention as they had been arrested on Sunday and Monday.  The Ahwazi activists on social media circulated videos showing the violent attack by the Iranian security forces on the villagers.  Women were said to have been beaten up mercilessly by the security forces, who launched a massive crackdown on the villagers there.

This was not the end of the villagers’ suffering, however, with Ahwazi activists in the area reporting that the following day a convoy of dozens of regime armored vehicles appeared in the village, with the security personnel proceeding to randomly physically and verbally assault everyone in sight, male and female, young and old, arresting at least 50 of the residents and taking them to an unknown location. Many of the traumatized and terrified villagers fled to nearby villages or into the mountainous areas nearby, fearful that the regime thugs would carry out massive arrests campaign.

Residents of Jalizi said that the army’s ‘Etka’ organization had arbitrarily confiscated 4,000 hectares of their land, leaving them with only 1,000 hectares, with no prior notification of the seizure and no means of attaining any compensation; it’s suspected that the army intends to confiscate the remaining 1,000 hectares, which would leave the local  Ahwazi Arab people with nothing.

Jalizi and the surrounding area were part of Arabistan (Ahwaz) up until 1986 when the regime redrew the boundaries, making it part of Ilam region.

Regime officials have confiscated thousands of hectares of lands and countless homes owned by Ahwazi Arabs using various transparently false pretexts, such as a need to use the land for sugarcane growing and refining or for building military bases for the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with the regime refusing to recognise the owners’ ownership documents although these lands and homes have been passed down through generations.

Ahwazi and Western human rights organisations have noted that the objective behind the regime’s illegitimate confiscations is to enforce demographic change in the predominantly Arab Ahwaz region, replacing Ahwazis with ethnically Persian Iranians so as to deny the legitimacy of Ahwazis’ claim to their homelands, which house over 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran.

The plan to confiscate agricultural and other lands and homes and to relabel them as regime property, while changing the demographic composition of the region is part of the Iranian regime’s decades-old expansion project, which is now also extending across other Arab nations in the region.  This expansionism is implemented, overseen and directly patronized by the IRGC, which is now consolidating its power and massively increasing its own remit

The complicit silence from the ‘International community’, and from human rights bodies and governments worldwide effectively gives the regime carte blanche to disregard all human rights and international law, with Ahwazi activists and human rights campaigners and anyone who dares to protest at this relentless injustice being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and all too often killed on the most specious of charges such as ‘Moharebeh’ or ‘enmity to God’.

Human rights organizations Ahwaz and Western noted that the aim of these practices of committed by the Iranian authorities against the Arab population in the country is to make a demographic change in the Ahwaz region and to bring the regime loyalists to be replaced the Ahwazi Arabs.

Ahwazi activists have launched a campaign to raise awareness of this latest grotesque injustice in the region, which was autonomous emirate up until 1925 when it was annexed and occupied by the regime of the then-Shah.  For almost a century now, the Arab people have been subjected to systemic and vicious racism, discrimination and injustice; despite the region holding the vast majority of the oil wealth claimed by Iran, most Ahwazis live in conditions of medieval poverty; this is a deliberate policy on the regime’s behalf, intended to subjugate and further punish the already oppressed people.  Ahwazis are even denied jobs in the oil and gas refineries and other regime facilities, as well as being forbidden from publicly speaking their own, Arabic language or wearing their traditional Arab garments.

Rahim Hamid, an Ahwazi Arab freelance journalist and human rights advocate who mainly writes about the plight of his people in Iran.

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