Iran: Ahwazi Arabs forced to drink contaminated water amidst government river diversions

In a new report, Mostafah Hetteh reveals that the Iranian regime's strategy of diverting water from the Karun river is having devastating effects on al-Ahwaz's Arab population. Mostafah explains that the plans have cut off the Ahwazi Arab population's water supply almost entirely, and the little that remains is often contaminated with industrial and agricultural waste. 

Confronted with daily discrimination at the hands of Iran's Persian ruling class, Ahwazi Arabs are now being condemned to a life of poverty, according to Mostafah. The State's network of dams and water canals channel the water to Iran's central provinces - and away from the Arab community.

As agriculturalists, the Arabs depend on the water supply provided by the rivers in order to live off the land. This desertification could therefore have long-term effects on the region's agricultural economy.

Lack of drinkable water is also leading to desperation in al-Ahwaz. Mostafah reveals that the population has resorted to drinking water that has been polluted by waste deposited by nearby oil companies and petrochemical plants, as well as by insecticides from local farming activities. Mostafah believes that this has led to an increase in miscarriages among pregnant women and a rise in babies born with deformities.

Photo: The Karun river in Iran is a key water supply for the Ahwazi Arab community. Credit: M. Rasoulov/CC

Click on the link below to read Mostafah Hetteh's full report:


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Date: 05/10/2014




Racism/Discrimination/Hate speech
Indigenous Peoples
Natural resources

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