As protests by Iran’s Arab Ahwaz minority reach their fifth day and claim the lives of at least three protesters, the response by the international community remains limited.
Protests erupted in the Khuzestan Province due to a drought that has devastated the region’s agriculture and way of life. However, according to Abdulrahman al-Heidari, the spokesperson for the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz (PADMAZ), the water issues were only a trigger.
“I think it’s very important to go back and understand that the water was a trigger. The main issue is that the policies of the regime displace people and are focused on suppressing the Ahwazi people,” Heidari said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
In another interview with the Post, Hamid Mtasher, the head of the Al-Ahwaz Liberal Party, outlined the grievances faced by the Ahwaz, echoing the sentiment of Heidari.
“The water was looted to the point of zero and caused the death of livestock, birds and fish after Iran transferred the waters of Ahwaz to the Persian cities. The regime also plunders the region through the policy of forced displacement, manipulation of the demographic structure and demographic change,” Mtasher described.
“Thousands of our children have died after being afflicted with diseases of cancer, lung, asthma and breathing,” the Ahwazi Organization for Human Rights added.
Videos shared across social media over the past week show large numbers of demonstrators in the streets, with police and soldiers trying to limit demonstrations, including firing on protesters. The authenticity of the videos cannot be confirmed at this time but have nonetheless sparked outrage. The Islamic Republic has confirmed that at least three protesters have been killed.
Despite the outrage, the response by the international community has been limited. To try to galvanize support for the movement, Heidari participated in a protest with the Ahwazi community in London outside of 10 Downing Street.
Heidari criticized the response by the international community: “It hasn’t gone beyond messaging. They didn’t take real action.”
Source: The Jerusalem Post