Gross violation of the right to employment for Ahwazis


03 Oct 2018

Considering the deadly armed attack against the Iranian military parade in Ahwaz on 22 September 2018, one may raise a question about the cause of such attack upon the Iranian regime’s power in Ahwaz region. [1] There is a maxim saying that one cannon rule people without observing neither justice nor equality among all peoples. Thus, discrimination and inequality can only fuel tension and frustration among the deprived people.

The ruling power in Ahwaz is alien and extra-territorial, lacking support or any base among local resident of the region. They are strangers in terms of their ethnic background and their affiliations to the Persian community that have come to Ahwaz to hold exclusively the economic, political and security power for their own benefit.

To defend this claim, one can observe the importance of Ahwaz in terms of its natural wealth and resources for the whole Iranian economy and study the living conditions among Ahwazi people as the owner of such rich land. Ahwaz contains more than 85 percent and 100 percent of Iran’s oil [2] and gas [3] resources respectively. The biggest rivers and water supply of Iran are in Ahwaz. In addition, this region is considered one of the best lands, suitable for agriculture and palm groves for its unique sedimentary soil.

However, the people of Ahwaz face poverty, high unemployment rate, discrimination, arbitrary arrests and persecution on a daily basis by the Iranian authorities in Ahwaz. Nonetheless, Ahwaz entails huge employment opportunities in industrial and other governmental and private sectors.

There are several thousands of job opportunities in each of the following companies including: The National Iranian South Oil Company with 9 major subsidiary companies in various regions of the province, the National Iranian Drilling Company, Khuzestan Steel Company, numerous petrochemical companies in Imam Khomeini Port, Khuzestan Water and Power Authority, the countless dams in Ahwaz, Iran’s National Steel Industrial Group, Arvand Free Zone Organization, Abadan Refinery and Ahwaz ports. Each of these companies and sectors can provide the population of every city in Ahwaz with dignified jobs.

Yet, unemployment and poverty rates are very high among Arabs. The government brings non-Arabs to Ahwaz and provides them with job opportunities, grants them with all necessary means, builds housing units for them to settle, and offers security and protection for them by the Revolutionary Guard, the army, the Intelligence service, the security forces, and the judicial system.

Gholamreza Shariati, the governor of northern Ahwaz revealed that according to recent tallies, there are 300,000 of non-natives working in Ahwaz and that the pulse of the employment is at the disposal of non-natives. On the other hand, Mohammad Baqer Shariati, a member of the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said that the non-native forces moving to Ahwaz shackles the Iranian economy with massive expenses such as the cost of accommodation, feed supply, and their transport. They also aggravate the phenomenon of unemployment in Ahwaz, which could lead to some social and cultural disruptions. [4]

The grave discrimination is implemented against Ahwazi people in all aspects of life including the unemployment. This state-sponsored discrimination is so apparent and to such a great extent that the governor of Ahwaz and other representatives of the Iranian regime could not hide the entire facts and data in this respect.

There is no domestic outlet or any judicial conduit for Ahwazi people to demand to address or improving the current injustices. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the international community to hold Iran accountable for their unfair and wrong practices perpetrated against the local and the real dwellers of Ahwazi land. It is expected that the United Nations that was created to maintain various objectives including promoting human rights and encouraging social and economic development, to look into the situation of Ahwazi people and prevent Iran from discriminating against the defenceless people of Ahwaz. It is also necessary that various UN human rights bodies step in, not only to condemn Iran but also to take appropriate measures for attaining the international human rights standards for Ahwazi people living under the state-sponsored persecution of the Iranian state. 

Ahwazi Organization for the Defence of Human Rights


[1] The Economist, ‘Iran’s troubles are mounting at home and abroad’ (27 September 2018) <> accessed 29 September 2018.

[2] Hussain Heydari member of Ahwaz city council, ‘85% of the county’s oil wells are in Khuzestan’ (Asr Iran, 1 January 2018) <وجود-85-درصدازچاه%E2%80%8Cهاینفتکلکشوردرخوزستان> accessed 29 September 2018.

[3] OPEC, ‘OPEC share of world crude oil reserves, 2017’ <> accessed 29 September 2018.

[4] Ali Nawaser, ‘The pulse of employment in Khuzestan is in the hand of non-natives’ (Mehr News, 29 May 2013) <> accessed 29 September 2018.

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