The Iranian regime has confiscated large tracts of Ahwazi Arabs’ land in various areas of Muhammara city, ‘gifting’ the seized lands to ethnically Persian settlers for use in setting up businesses backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) without limits or conditions.
The largest tract of land in the city confiscated by the regime, an area exceeding 952 square meters, in the Fakri Street area of the city, is known as ‘Jabari’s land’ after its owners, a local Ahwazi Arab family named Jabari. Other areas seized by the regime from their Ahwazi owners with no warning or possibility of legal action or compensation include a 420 square-meter area extending along the coastal road from the city centre to the outskirts, and a 295-square-meter area in the Safar Bazaar in the city.
All the confiscated lands were seized by the regime with no prior notification or legal documents; those living and working there arrived to find that their businesses had been closed down and their properties and goods seized, while new, regime-sponsored businesses had taken over the premises. As always, no matter what size their losses, they have no recourse to any legal action against the regime; Arabs are effectively treated as second-class citizens, with the regime denying them the most basic of rights.
According to locals in Muhammara, the land and properties has been handed over to Persian settlers, who are offered generous incentives to move to the region, along with homes in ethnically homogenous settlements built by the regime especially for them and provided with all mod cons and amenities denied to the indigenous Arab people. The locals told the media office of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA) that the land and properties were confiscated under the pretext of accelerating the regime’s urbanisation program in the city, although the traders now operating in the seized properties are uninterested in not interested in expansion and are not being asked by the regime to carry out any construction or development work on the confiscated properties; this has also been confirmed by Farsi-language media in the area.
This is only the latest such mass confiscation of Ahwazi Arabs’ properties and lands by the Iranian regime, which is intensifying its efforts to eradicate the Arab character and identity of the region by driving the indigenous peoples out. As the regime knows, the city of Muhammara has particular significance for Ahwazis and for the cause of Ahwazi freedom since it was the capital of Al Ahwaz during the reign of the martyred Ahwazi prince, Khazaal Bin Jaber, prior to the 1925 Iranian invasion and occupation.
Similar illegitimate seizures of Ahwazis’ land have also taken place in rural areas, with the regime confiscating hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland on various pretexts. The regime’s sugarcane farming project alone has seen approximately 550,000 square hectares of Arab farmers’ land seized, with the regime recently confiscating 44,000 more hectares of prime agricultural land in the Jufir area near Huwayzeh city; the stolen land was handed over to 3,200 ethnically Persian settlers, described as “war veterans” as a reward for their military service to the regime; although the landowners, driven into destitution overnight by the grotesquely unjust decision, have begged local authorities to reconsider, submitting complaints against the IRGC-related firms involved in the land deal, there is little optimism that the regime will pay any attention to their appeals.
The regime has even had the effrontery to demand that the Ahwazi farmers, whose families have farmed the lands for many generations, have been doing so illegally without legal documents proving their ownership of the land; no such documents are required of those who seize them from their rightful owners.