The will of Ahwazi Arabs Defies the Racism of the Iranian Regime


Jaber Ahmed 

Since the fall of the Shah's regime, the Ahwazis have experienced successive uprisings in their struggle to regain their national rights. The regime of the Republic of Iran, under vague pretexts has refrained from dealing with the issue of the Ahwazi Arab people in general and the Iranian nationalities as a whole.  And even refrained from applying the articles of the Iranian constitution, which deals with some of its articles shyly in regards to  issue of nationalities in Iran.

If we take a quick look at the Iranian map, whether in the past or the present, it can be made apparent that Iran has long been a multi-national country and the connection of these nationalities to the center is weakening in terms of the power of the central state authority. 

It can be said that the nationalities living in Iran at that time had a kind of autonomy. The constitutional revolution of 1906 attempted to promote this constitutional independence, being aware of national diversity. 

Therefore, the so-called "states and provinces" system was introduced, namely the system of regions and provinces. Iran was defined as a group of kingdoms, not a single kingdom. Therefore, we find that this revolution received material and moral support from all peoples in Iran, and was supported by Sheikh Khazal bin Sheikh Jaber Amir of the province of Arabistan at the time.

Perhaps this disregard of the national issue, whether in the era of the Pahlavi family or in the era of the Islamic Republic, is due to the nature of the establishment of the Iranian state, which was associated with its birth by the so-called “nation-state”. A nation -state that is based on principals such as the Aryan race, Persian ancient history, Safavids Shiism, Farsi language, expansion, anti Arab and anti Islam sentiments. However the historical evidence proofs that Iran is and never was a country with one ethnicity and one language . 

Moreover, in the case of this artificial state, nationalities in Iran have not been only subjected to national oppression but some have also been subjected to religious persecution, as in the case of the Kurds, Turkomans and Baloch who are Sunni Muslims. 

This is what Mustafa Taj Zad pointed out: “The era of the Pahlavi, known as the "Iranian spirit" is itself carries racist tendencies toward Arab,Turk,Kurd and Baluch in favore of of (Persian) oppression which makes this spirit  a racist spirit par excellence. “

From this historical perspective, the Iranian sociologist, Mr. Nasser Fakouhi, also addresses this issue. "The emergence of the nation-state phenomenon in Iran based on the principle of nation-state, which was based on myths, has caused a lot of damage to the future of the country because it was exploited by a group of racist Persian nationalists who considered that Iran and contrary to the realities of history is a country consisting of one nationality and one language […].”

Without excluding the uprisings of  Ahwazi Arabs in rejection of the national oppression that occurred during the era of the Pahlavi regime, the era of the Islamic Republic has also witnessed several uprisings by Arabs  against the regime of  Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist  (Wali -al faqih). Although the time and the reasons for the uprisings are different, one of the first and most important expressions of rejection of national oppressors of Arabs during Republic Islamic  was the uprising of 1979 in the city of Muhammarah (Persianized Khoramshahr) which followed by the black Wednesday massacres of the 1985 . 

This uprising was caused following an article published by one of the official Persian-language newspapers under the title " "The city of Ahwaz in the past and present," where this newspaper pours its anger on Ahwazi Arab people, ignoring their identity, history, traditions, culture and their existence on their land tens of thousands of years ago, describing them as a group of "kawli" nomads who emigrated from Arab countries and settled in “Arabistan (Persianized Khuzestan)

In early 2000’s , the vast majority of Arab cities witnessed bloody clashes between Arab citizens and Iranian security forces in protest against the rigging of local elections by the regime's agents. In the same year, Abadan witnessed a major uprising in protest against the contamination of drinking water and the diversion of the Karun River and its people. 

The uprising of April 15, 2005, known as the “Al-Ard" (land) uprising, which followed a document issued by the highest governmental source that stipulates changing the population demography of the Arab people and turning Arabs from majority to minority within 10 years time. 

Last but not least, the current April uprising, which broke out two weeks ago, was called "Al Karama" uprising (dignity) . This was in response to the racist practices by the Iranian regime’s broadcasting. The state television showed the presence of national regions in Iran and excluded  the presence of Ahwaz Arabs people on the Iranian map through placing a doll wearing non Arab traditional  costume. 

This racist act which was broadcasted on national TV served as a match that ignited these uprisings. And this uprising similar to the previous is a continuation of rejection of Ahwazi Arabs for this regime 

Following are some of the hallmarks of the latests protests :

-Since its inception, the uprising has emphasized that it is necessary to rely on the Ahwazi self-potentials because it was realized that both so- called “reformers” and “hardliners” are two sides of the same coin. 

- Raised peaceful and public slogans that combine national oppression with social class oppression.

-Through our follow-up to the accuracy of the conduct of the demonstrations we see that these protests must have had leaders and committees to call and guide them. the uprising did not allow the opportunists to launch extremist slogans in order to give justification to strike and incite the Iranian public against it. 

-For the first time, the demonstrations start from the heart of the city, ie the Ahwaz market. This means that the Arab movement Ahwazi shifted from the margin and periphery  to the center. 

-This uprising was able to attract, for the first time, large numbers of Ahwazi women and this was embodied in the framework of Ahwazi national unity and through the participation of large segments of the masses of our people with all their national forces in these demonstrations. 

-It came in response to those who say  that Ahwazi Arabs are still tribal people and  has not yet developed a national identity. 

-This uprising was able to distinguish friends from enemies of Ahwazi Arabs. 

-Absence of the factor of fear, and perhaps the involvement of  people of all ages is proof of this. It also united the voice of Ahwazi national forces at home and in diaspora.  

- Shake the image of the moral and ideological system in front of Arab and Islamic public opinion.
has strengthened the confidence of our Ahwazi Arab people, and it has become a lesson to combat the struggle against the regime in Iran. This uprising is an extension of the comprehensive uprising that began at the beginning of the current year, which called for the overthrow of the regime. 

-brought the voice of our Arab Ahwazi people to the Arab world as well as to the global decision-making circles and to the United Nations and the bodies emanating from them. 

- The issue of the Ahwazi Arabs in the Western newspapers has been raised in the past as well as news bulletins in the most important international satellite channels.

-supported the consensus of nationalities in Iran and also the support of some leftist parties that issued statements through which they supported this uprising and condemned the practice of the brutal regime towards the Ahwazi Arab people. According to preliminary statistics, the number of detainees has reached 500 hundred so far which indicates the large number of participants in this uprising. 

In conclusion, I would like to say that the criminal policies pursued by the regime of Wali -al faqih can not break the will of people to fight and continue to struggle until reaching their legitimate national rights, including the right to self-determination.

originally published on الحوار المتمدن