I studied computer science in Ahwaz, I always had a great interest in
writing and weblogging. It was a hobby that I could not find a suitable
job in while living in Ahwaz, so I decided to move to Tehran last fall
to pursue this dream of mine. Unfortunately, Tehran turned out not being
as promissing as I had imagined in fulfilling my line of work. So that
brings me to where I am today, working in a book shop, always surrounded
The Student Union of Jondishapour University in Ahvaz, Iran by Kamran Diba, 1968-1972. The building is built using elongated brick indigenous to the region surrounding the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates and is built in a traditional Islamic plan, being centered around various courtyards. An exaggerated staircase leads up to a gate framed by towers, emphasizing the importance of the project as a grand entrance. The architectural language is influenced by the bold revolutionary German modernist movement and the monumentalism of Italian futurism. In addition the artist was influenced by artist Giorgio de Chirico and his operatic scenes set in desolate deserts with dramatic lighting. Through this, the structure manipulates the harsh desert light into an art form. Diba combines all of these elements into a way that mirrors the utilitarian principles of southern Persian architecture and thus retains the unique national identity of Iran.
The Arab Spring swept across the Middle East last year, toppling authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, while violence still rages on in Syria. Global commentators speculated about whether the Arab Spring would reach Iran and reignite the anti-Ahmadinejad Green Movement that was brutally suppressed after it started protesting election results in 2009. However, as soon as protests started this February, the police moved in to prevent a repeat of the tragedy that unfolded a few years back. Foreign news coverage then became severely limited, after news bureaus were threatened with closure and their staffs with deportation if they dared print anything negative.
However, the clampdown didn’t stop the protests. Two months later, Iranian Arabs in the western province of Ahwaz took to the streets of the capital, which is also called Ahwaz, and were attacked by the security forces, who fired live ammunition into the crowd, killing 15 and wounding dozens more.
Never heard of Ahwaz? That’s because, officially, it’s called Khuzestan and is home to one of Iran’s longest running independence movements—a movement that Iran has been fighting and brutalizing to keep quiet. If the name rings a bell at all, it’s probably from the 1980 Iranian embassy siege in London, which was carried out by Ahwazi separatists demanding the release of Arab prisoners in Iranian jails.
Ahwaz is a mainly ethnically Arab province that was an autonomous state before 1935. Ever since, Ahwazis have been protesting both peacefully, and not so peacefully, to regain their independence. But, surprise surprise, Iran isn’t listening. And not only is it not listening, it’s shooting protesters and often torturing and executing the ones it captures while branding them traitors and heretics.
Unsurprisingly, Ahwazis are getting tired of demonstrating, and there’s now talk of armed insurrection. I got in touch with Kamil Alboshoka, who was forced to flee Iran and now works as an Ahwazi human rights campaigner, to find out exactly what’s going on.
VICE: Hey, Kamil. Can you tell me a little bit about Ahwaz please? Kamil: Ahwaz is a very rich and fertile land, with many rivers that help it sustain its vast agricultural output. Ahwaz is Iran’s third richest province by GDP, but the country now suffers. Ahwaz is rich, but its people are not. We’re not allowed to study our own language, not allowed to engage in politics, not allowed to wear our traditional clothes, not allowed to use our traditional names, and we’re not allowed to have our own economy. The country is in a really bad situation.
How did it all start? It was independent before 1925, then Iran attacked my country, occupied the land, and killed thousands of people. In 1935, Iran officially declared that Ahwaz was a part of the country, then they changed the name to Khuzestan in 1936. Since then, Iran has moved thousands of ethnic Persians to Ahwaz to change the demographic of the land. Now there are nearly two million Persians in Ahwaz, but they live in the centers of the towns and they don’t mix with people, exactly like Kosovo in the past, or like the West Bank. They’re Persian settlements and they have the power to take agriculture from the people. The economy is run by them and they’re supported by the Iranian state.
So the 1979 revolution changed nothing? No, nothing changed. It just became worse, because, in 1979 Persians weren’t supposed to take power again—it was supposed to become a federalist state. During the revolution, the ethnic Turks started the demonstrations across Iran, and Arabs blockaded the oil and gas in Ahwaz, so that made the previous regime close down. Before Ruhollah Khomeini took power, he told them he’d give them rights to speak their language, rights to be federalist, and rights to have a percentage of their economy, but didn’t fulfill any of his promises. The only thing we have left now is self-determination.
Ahwaz or Arabistan (signifying the Arabic land character), is a region that is located cross from the South-Eastern part of the Iraqi borders. Being the area surrounding the gulf from the North, beginning with the strategic Shatt-Alarab water gate (the current frontier between Iran and Iraq) and extending throughout the east bank of Arabian Gulf (called by native Arab people that inhabit Arabistan and named by the Arab World). To lay out the location clearly, it is the area where Iran extracts all of the exporting oil from. The land’s topographic, geologic characters and the barriers of Zagros Mountains make Arabistan geography a distinct one from the Iranian flat and naturally an extension of the Arab World land. This fact is again verified by historical characters later will be mentioned in this article. Arabistan is the country that is different from Persia as is Spain from Germany as Arnold Wilson noted in his journal. However, the area of Ahwaz prior to its occupation by the Persians, 1925, it was 375.000 square km which later will be divided, in 1936, between couple new provinces after Persia taken over this region to its new territory called Iran. These new changes still left a significant concentration of Ahawazi Arab native people in a province which named now Khuzestan. Aspire from all these was obvious. The Persian authorities wanted to hide any names that might refer to the ethnic characteristic of the native Ahwazi inhabitants.
Ahwaz is known to be the land of Elam civilization. Susa had been the capital city of this civilization and Ahwazi native people also refer to it as the blessed land of Daniel prophet whose burial ground is located in today city of Shus or Susa. Elam was one of the civilizations that existed, as a sister to the civilizations of Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia and the historical sites of this civilization still exist throughout Ahwaz. Elam civilization eventually was destroyed by the Persian during conquest, but Persians have never inhabited the land of Ahwaz since the hot climate was wild to their nature. French archeologists excavation between 1902-1901 on this site was the major one.
An Ahwazies origin is Semite, and later by the Islamic conquest Ahwazi as the Iraqis became Muslim and intermingled with Arabic tribes when they assumed tribal title and gradually abandoned their Aramaic language to Arabic. Still, there remained Ahwazies Christain, Jews, Sabian (followers of John prophet) to the present day forming 10% of the 8 million Ahwazi populations (tribal census not official ones).
Political History of Ahwaz:Finally Ahwaz emerged to be the first emirate to liberate itself form the Mongol rule and establish its autonomous territory under the rule of Mohammad Ibn Flah Mushashai who not only extend his rule on Arabistan and East bank of Arabian Gulf but also went as far as near Isfahan and Shiraz making Persians followers of his Shia'at doctrine. He officially ruled east and west bank of the gulf from today province of sharqia in Saudi Arabica to city of Bushaher on the other side of the gulf where Arabs are inhabiting.The capital of this emirate was Howaiza where bureaucratic governance system and currency were created. Their rule lasted from 1516-1690 when Al-bo-Naser takes the power and establish Kaabi emirate. Al-bo-Naser stayed in power for a century and half. Their rule again was overtaken by Al-bo-Kaseb 1832 who will be predominantly the ruler for Arabistan until the time of occupation of Persia to Arabistan in the 1925 when the last Emir Shikh Khazal Al-Jaber was deposed by the Persian General Reza Khan who later became the King of a new country called Iran. Although Arabistan was an immediate target of Persian’s and the Ottoman’s expansionism from the time of Moshashai, Ahwazies successfully kept their independence by intriguing between Persia rule and the Ottoman Empire. And, yet until 1925 this expansionism seized to submit Ahwaz to any perpetually rule which entails them to be taxed.
However, what will submit Ahwaz to Persia, not a surprise; happen to be the arrival of the colonizing powers and their desire in dividing the Middle East region according to the interests. More specifically occupation, which later titled annexation, of Ahwaz was attributed to the following reasons. First, factor the treaty of Erzurum 1847 between British, Russia and Gajar of Persia where Ahwazi authority was ignored and a treaty took place against the will of Ahwazi people. The purpose of the treat was as noted: since1847, British and Russian interest in the Shatt al- Arab had changed dramatically; British oil discovery in Arabistan resulted in increased shipping on the Shatt al-Arab. Britain, in particular, was anxious to expand Persian sovereignty in the Shatt al-Arab, at least to the extent required by its own interest. This led to the second factors again another treaty in 1914 between Britain, Ottoman Empire, Russia and the Gajar’s. This time Britain was fearful from the Bolshevik revolution and their expansion which might reach the free sea through the Gulf region and U.S.S.R domination on the oil wells of the gulf region. The third factor was internal. The conflict between various tribes in Arabistan made the last Emir busy in his internal affair and diverted his attention from what was happening to the faith of his nations which later to come as result of these treaties. And, although the British considered Arabistan the protectorate or United Kingdoms, the last Emir shik Khzaal did not grasp the danger of this presence, which would later hunt him and his nation by occupation of Riza khan.
History of Ahwazi political struggle for liberation:Although not continues, Ahwazies never had been stopped from their Struggle for their rights including the nation rights of self-determination. From the time of occupation, Ahwazies used all peaceful means of struggle to achieve their ends. Unfortunately their struggle has been often either ignored or not highlighted as a political struggle against Iran. There are several factors to this problem.
During the time of Shah, his persianist regime used all means to first disable Ahwaies from self realization, by prohibiting them from education in their language, eradication of any Arabic influence in Arabistan, and various policies to Persianize Arabistan. Second, his regime primary policies was impoverishing Ahwazi population, assassination of political activists and containing the outflow of news which he tought it would it will put an end to Arabistan issue. Third, as Iran enters to be recognized and known as a state in International community, Persians who owned all means of power in the institution deliberately fed the world with literatures which would sound Iran: Persia, unified country and if there is a sub-national minority they are no more than a separatist; and thus, their issue fall on Iran’s domestic security matter and not a regional political case. This to a large degree continues through the Iran’s Islamic regime as well. As result, the international communities were uninformed about the Ahwazi issue and therefore Ahwazi political fight was helpless and got little attention. Forth, the Ahwazi fight was not supported by regional Arab states and if it was it was very limited and state’s interest targeted. The reasons that Ahwazi were not fully supported by the regional Arab states were cheaply: first, Ahwazies predominantly are Arab Shiaa. Since they were not Sunni they were less of a matter to the Arab world as was other cases. Second, Iraq always wanted to consider Arabistan as part of its soil as considered Kuwait, although they were two different cases. Therefore, Iraq regime prevented any other Arab states from interfering and claiming when the time was suitable. Third, Arab states has always been in a weak position faceting Iran which was and still seems to be a regional power. Therefore, why they would bother jeopardizing their relation since they well aware that Iranian regime are highly sensitive about the Ahwazi issue.
Arabistan and Ahwazi political aspiration today:Since year 2000 Ahwazi were able to organize them selves, but now broad where they have the freedom of action and could work to influence the political struggle inside Arabistan. They successfully could influence the Ahwazies inside Arabistan which resulted in numerous demonstrations, act of civil disobedience and nonstop peaceful political fight. They also reached their voices to number of international organizations that watches over human rights issues around the globe. All of them unanimously condemned Iran for violating the human rights in Ahwaz. Although all of these condemnation, Iranian regime continues to defy the will of international community and keeps on viciously persecuting the Ahwazi nation. The Iranian regime goes as far as confiscating Ahwazies’ land for settling Persians citizens in Arabistan aiming at changing the demographic character of Arabistan. These triggered anger among indigenous people, brought political consciousness to Ahwazies and more political unrest through out Arabistan. As a consequences, the regime constantly attack demonstrating people with no mercy. In various incidents the Iranian armed forces opens fire to the crowds among them children and women and elderly. Their secrete service goes as far as abducting the political activists female espouses and sisters raping them aiming to break the sprite and the will of those activists and finally give up. In several occasion Iranian regime also plot bombs in public locations so that they easily could propagate against our peaceful political struggle and stigmatizing this just political fight with terrorism, and catching on excuses to arrest Ahwazi with no charges.
Today, on behalf of the Ahwazi nation we are asking you and all the international community to put pressure on Iran to give up the occupation, and the unjustified, and inhumane actions. We want your support and help to pressure Iran to respect the international law that yields all nations their rights and significantly law that allow Ahwazi’s right of self determination. Ahwazis are a nation no less of a nation and not a different one from others. They would like to live in peace and prosperity, comply to the laws and norms of international community and contribute to humanity. Ahwaz has all constituents of a nation; Ahwazis is distinct national identity from Iran. Ahwazi’s land is Arabistan, Ahwaz had its territorial integrity through out the history until 1925. Further, Ahwaz land has numerous natural wealth, being the world’s forth highest crud oil exporter and having various mineral resources. Ahwaz with spectacular strategic location, with unique fertile soil, extravagant climate and rich culture deserves to be a state of its own alike others.
Vampires, Devils, Kufar…one thing they surely have in common is they love to see the Muslim blood being spilt!! they have caused many bloody massacres on ahlul sunnah and still til this very day they are in # Syria # Iraq #Iran and the ahwaz they helped the US in invading Iraq and Afghanistan! these are the worse of people! and the Devil Khamenei is their Mastermind!!
What do you know about Al-Ahwaz ( the forgotten land of Arabs)?
Ahwaz used to be an autonomous Arab territory that had its own ruler, Shaykh Khazal, until he was deposed in 1925 by Persian General Reza Khan, who went on to become king of Iran. Ahwaz gradually lost its political, economic and cultural independence when it was completely annexed by Reza Shah Pahlavi, who forcefully took over Ahwaz. Before Iran annexed Ahwaz, the Persians referred to the region as Arabistan (signifying the territory’s Arab character). After its annexation, the central government changed the territory’s name to Khuzestan. Since 1925, Ahwaz, or Khuzestan, is a province that lies in southwest Iran, bordering Iraq, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. Ahwaz is now the name of the province’s capital, used by Persians and Arabs alike. However, Persians refer to the province as Khuzestan, while Arabs still refer to the province as Ahwaz (or Al-Ahwaz in the Arabic language).
AL-Ahwaz came under Iran’s control and dependence by force (in 1925) and since then many things have changed and new laws were passed such as:
1). Changing the Arabic Ahwazian identification into Iranian/Persian.
2). Changing the name of AL-Ahwaz to (Khuzestan), and renaming cities of AL-Ahwaz.
3). Disallowing Arabic education and often not allowing the Arabs to enter schools and colleges in Iran.
4). Disallowing speech in Arabic- the mother language- but insisting on speech in Persian.
5). Oppressing the Arabic people by making their children work instead of attending school.
6). Prohibiting Arabic books or newspapers, owners will be arrested and sent to prison.
7). Strict rules that a newborn child must be given a Persian name.
8). Prohibiting listening to Arabic radio or TV.
9). The Arabian who is suspected of involvement in politics will be hung without trial.
10). Iran governs AL-Ahwaz with military forces.
11). Nowadays there are women, children, old men and even pregnant women in jail, who are often executed by hanging.
لازالت قضية الشعب العربي في الأهواز تعاني من الإهمال والتجاهل سواء من المجتمع الدولي أو من قبل الدول العربية التي من المفترض أن تقف إلى هذه الشعب وقضيته العادلة في مواجهة الاحتلال الإيراني الذي طال..
لكن مع بروز المطالبات الشعبية في العالم العربي والثورة على أنظمة الحكم الديكتاتورية برزت القضية إلى مقدمة الاهتمام مع حلول “الربيع العربي..
Die Situation der arabischen Minderheit im Iran findet in den Medien nur wenig Beachtung. Diese lebt in der Region al-Ahwaz, die heute im Persischen „Khusistan“ heißt. Früher trug sie den Namen „Arabistan“, also das Land, in dem die Araber wohnen. Nach einer bewegten Geschichte gelangte das Gebiet in den 1920er Jahren unter iranische Herrschaft. Heute möchte das Gebiet Autonomie. Doch das Land – das mit seiner Fläche von 348.000 km² nahezu die Größe von Deutschland hat – ist dank seiner Ölvorräte und dem Meereszugang geopolitisch zu wichtig, um vom Iran einfach aufgegeben zu werden.