In recent months, many Ahwazi workers have been subjected to work stoppages, dismissal, termination, and discrimination, forcing the Ahwazi population to sink further into economic poverty and suffering (over 85% of the population currently lives below the poverty line).
Persian companies fired a disproportion number of Ahwazi workers on several occasions during the last couple of months in response to protests against the continued lack of opportunity and the desperate situation facing the Ahwazi people. Many of the sacked workers have not been paid their salaries, and their protests at backdated wages have gone nowhere.
The average monthly payment of most of the sacked workers was $390. These dismissals are nothing less than a ‘political purification’ of the workplace—simply another form of ethnic cleansing by the regime.
The systemic injustice and oppression of Arab workers continues today, and has even surfaced against Arabic-speakers who choose to use their native language while at work (it is standard policy for Farsi-speaking employers and administrators to punish those who speak Arabic in the workplace).
Persian employees working for Persian companies receive a wide variety of benefits and support from the occupying government, and this enforces the increasing marginalization of the Arab people, establishing a mafia-like family domination by Persians in the workplace. There is no organization providing a response or efforts to address the issues facing the Ahwazi community, with all such bodies proscribed by law.
The Persian mafia continues to violate the rights of the Ahwazi Arab workers, imposing real obstacles and frustrations upon them by restricting their access to any civil society groups that might report the abuses incurred, such as forcing Ahwazi workers to accept lower wages, longer hours, and ever-worsening work conditions.
The Persian mafia family has replaced Ahwazi workers with Persian workers across the board. In a pathetic attempt at appeasement, a token number of Ahwaz Arab workers are hired, but these few live in poor and marginal rural and urban areas in their home country, and are forced to accept significantly lower wages than their Persian colleagues for doing the same job, as well as not having the same labor rights or benefits.
The denial of job opportunities and the absence of a steady income have driven many Ahwazi Arabs to work as street vendors, since they are the victims of discrimination in the private sector and state-owned businesses. In and of itself, making ends meet as a street vendor is near-impossible.
To make matters worse, the occupying municipal authorities frequently target the poorest of the Ahwazi vendors, who are mostly women, using the excuse that they do not have a formal license for operating as street vendors.
In recent months, the municipal authorities have confiscated the goods of Ahwazi street vendors and cut off their income, leaving them in limbo and facing destitution. A history of such measures has forced millions of Ahwazi Arabs to live as outcasts.
The Ahwazi people have been systematically excluded and segregated in every aspect of life; they have been neglected and isolated from mainstream society and denied access to social, economic and educational opportunities. The result is that many of the poorest Ahwazi communities have been pushed into adopting unofficial and underground economies, and even into crime, simply to survive.
Despite the fact that the Ahwaz region houses over 90% of Iran’s oil and gas resources, the Ahwazi people endure levels of poverty, malnutrition, slum housing, unemployment and illiteracy comparable only with the poorest states in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Ahwazi urban areas, the occupying regime under its occupying urban planning has constructed numbers of ethnically-segregated developed neighborhoods solely for Persian settlers in line with the deliberate policy of demographic change in Al-Ahwaz, which is tantamount to ethnic cleansing leaving Ahwazi Arab populated areas neglected and resembling deprived rural villages rather than city neighborhoods, without even paved roads, public lighting or street cleaning.
Due to their Arab ethnicity, Ahwazis are denied all rights, brutally persecuted, subjected to savage racial discrimination, forced displacement, political repression and compulsory assimilation.
They are banned by law from any form of peaceful protests and from forming trade unions or political parties or establishing media outlets. With anti-Arab racism endemic in Persian culture, the Persian majority who are settled in Al-Ahwaz by the regime and have been granted the whole socio-economic privileges, treat Ahwazi Arabs as little more than chattels, inferior beings at best.