Massive and torrential flooding is causing scenes of Biblical suffering in the Ahwaz region (southwest and south of Iran), with an estimated two million people forced to evacuate their homes so far and the number set to rise still further. Ahwazis have issued desperate pleas for help from global humanitarian organisations and the international community, with the Iranian regime not only providing no aid to the stricken area but actively increasing the suffering by diverting the surging floodwaters to residential areas in order to protect oil and gas facilities downstream. Ahwazi activists are pleading with the international community to put pressure on the regime to stop diverting the waters in this way, with millions more people in the region at risk of being driven from their homes as the flooding approaches the regional capital Ahwaz city, which has a population of approximately two million.
Public anger is also rising among the people displaced from their homes by the horrendous flooding at the regime’s failure to pass on any of the aid sent to it by donor nations to help the flood victims; instead, this aid is being confiscated by the regime’s infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and is reportedly being sold for profit in ethnically Persian areas unaffected by the flooding.
Many in the region believe that the regime is fully willing to displace and sacrifice the entire predominantly Arab Ahwazi population of around 8 million by opening floodgates in the dams constructed upstream and flooding the entire area in order to safeguard the oil and gas facilities, using the flooding as a pretext for large-scale ethnic cleansing of the Arab population. Many of the flooded areas are completely cut off from other safe areas, with countless people receiving no food or medical aid; many infants are in desperate need of milk formula while large numbers of infirm or ill people are unable to obtain the medicines they need to survive.
Although various Western politicians and organisations have paid lip service to supporting freedom for the long-suffering people of the Ahwaz region, this has so far failed to turn into any sort of practical help which the people desperately need.
It is very clear to the Ahwazi people after decades of devastation and loss resulting from successive Iranian regimes’ environmentally ruinous exploitation of their once lush and fertile lands that Tehran’s primary objective is to ethnically cleanse Ahwazis from their homes and homeland in order to lay claim to its resources. The systematic barbarism and chilling indifference to human suffering used in pursuit of this policy are very clearly fueled by a profound racially supremacist contempt for the Arab Ahwazi people, which successive regimes have taken out both on the Ahwazi people and on their ancestral lands.
The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Dur Untash Studies Centre.