IRGC forces reportedly kill an Ahwazi farmer protesting against forced eviction


Iranian regime forces reportedly killed one Ahwazi farmer and injured 11 other people, including elderly people and women, in retaliation for the victims’ refusal to abandon their homes and lands when the IRGC told them that the regime would be diverting the floodwaters from the current massive flooding afflicting the region in southwestern Iran onto their farmlands in order to protect oil wells in the area.

Acting on the instructions of the Iranian leadership, the IRGC had  had reportedly ordered the opening of the floodgates of dams upstream, diverting the floodwaters to the farmlands around the villages of Jalizii and Shakaria in the Khafajiyeh area on the shores of   the Karkheh river  rather than letting them follow their usual course to the wetlands that empty into the Gulf since the regime leaders fear that the floodwaters might damage the oil rigs located there.

The local farmers, already angered by the regime’s indifference and abuse and by deteriorating economic conditions, protested at the regime’s insistence they abandon their homes and farms and let the crops that are their only means of subsistence be ruined in order to save the oil rigs; ironically, despite being the home of over 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran, the  predominantly Arab Ahwaz region is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.

The farmers also feared that if they were to leave their homes, they might never be allowed to return; thousands of farmers across Ahwaz have been driven off their lands by the regime to make way for industrial zones,  oil pipelines or settlements for ethnically Persian incomers, receiving no notice and no compensation for the loss of the homes, farms and lands which their families had farmed for generations.

The flooding of the farmers’ lands by opening the dams upstream to release pressure on them was ordered by President Rouhani following a recent brief visit to the region.

In a protest against the IRGC’s brutality and its orders to abandon their homes, the desperate villagers staged a demonstration chanting “We’re fed up with your lip service” and “We didn’t receive any compensation before, why would we believe you now?”

Rather than responding with any empathy or attempting to help the stricken farmers their families, IRGC personnel reacted with savage brutality, using water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition against the villagers, including elderly people, women and children, physically assaulting them and beating those who attempted to erect sandbag barriers to protect their homes and land.

In the brutal assault, oneAhwazi farmer who has been positively identified as AbboudRabiei, wasallegedly  killed, and 11 other people were injured.

Regime forces have now besieged the affected villages and are further punishing the desperate residents as they attempt to salvage what possessions they can from their flooded homes by seizing their belongings and destroying them.

Ahwazi activists said that the international community’s silence on the Iranian regime’s relentless human rights abuses towards Ahwazis had emboldened regime forces to act with shocking brutality since they feel they have absolute impunity to kill or terrorize the people.  From an Ahwazi perspective, the international community, like the regime, appears to value Ahwazis’ oil far above the lives of the indigenous people.

 written by Rahim Hamid, Ahwazi human rights activist

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