A leaked document titled "Khozestan's Security Project" for systematic ethnic cleansing in Al-Ahwaz
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO) received a copy of this document which describes a detailed security plan aimed at stifling the Ahwazi national rights movement through various means including "Suppressing political movements”, “continuing with the plan of demographic change and forcing the indigenous Arabs from their lands", and resettling more Persians and other non-Arab immigrants from other areas of Iran into the province.
The document confirms the fact that "discrimination, ethic persecution and marginalization against Arabs" would lead to "Widespread protests", and that a series of security measures, plans and projects need to be introduced in order to prevent any protests, like the ones that have taken place previously in the province, from happening.
The project divides the “challenges” facing the Iranian government into five categories: political, cultural, social, economic and security, and proposes solutions that concentrate on the containment of Ahwazi Arab demands and dissolving their political movements and demands via other Iranian political parties loyal to the current Iranian regime and believing in the concept of the Islamic Republic, and the principle of "welayat-Al Faqih"(Governance of the Islamic jurist).
According to the leaked document the ”security project” was approved on 27th April 2014 during a meeting of the high committee tasked by the Supreme Council for National Security with implementing this project. The meeting was chaired by Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, the Iranian Interior Minister under Hassan Rouhani’s government.
The high committee which is to supervise the implementation of the security project, includes
Eshaq Jahangiri, first assistant to Iran's president, the assistant to Interior Minister, assistant to the Minister of Intelligence and Security Affairs, the commander of the Internal Security Forces in Al-Ahwaz, and in addition to the Chairman of radio and television broadcasting, the governor of Khozestan province (Al-Ahwaz), and other members whose names were not disclosed.
According to the document, the high committee set up 5 committees to implement the project in the province within five years (from 2014 to 2019). Their task would be to implement security instructions and recommendations, and eliminate threats and confront challenges. Every six months these committees would present a report of their activities to Ali Shamkhani, General Secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security of Iran, who is the senior supervisor on the implementation of this project.
Perhaps the most important and dangerous of the provisions incorporated in this project is the planned construction of "new settlements and cities" to resettle large numbers of Persian and other predominantly non-Arab immigrants from other areas of Iran in the region as a means of completely changing its demographic composition in favor of non-Arab people.
This plan for demographic change in the province is a continuing policy of the central government which was mentioned in a leaked document in 2005. It was signed by Mohammad Abtahy, Director of the office of the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. This leaked document led to a massive uprising called "intefazat Nisan", or "April uprising", during which dozens of civilians were killed by police and security forces, despite Abtahy's denial of the document.
The AHRO emphasizes the fact that demographic change in the province is an ongoing process and being implemented on a large scale.
One of the sections of the project emphasizes the necessity of "decreasing the immigration of Persians out of Al-Ahwaz and increasing immigration toward the province from other parts of Iran so the demographic change can be implemented in the long term at the lowest cost". This goal is at present being rigorously implemented in Al-Ahwaz.
The document also recommends monitoring the human rights and diplomatic activities of Ahwazi people inside and outside of Iran, and following their efforts to present their case to the international community and receive international assistance and support.
Orders have been given to repress and eradicate any demands of federalization or independence and to limit any other political activities to the framework of Iranian government and its system.
It also recommends establishing television channels in Arabic language funded by the government to thwart projects which they call "nationalist movements," by Arabic political and human rights organizations, and by "Wahhabis", the term they use to refer to Ahwazi people who are converted from the Shia to the Sunni sect of Islam.
The document also recommends using Shia Iraqi militants and Hazbollah of Lebanon and other fighting militants in Syria to assist in implementing the project.
One of the sections of the document recommends allocating a budget for the project from the oil revenues, 90% of which is produced in Al -Ahwaz. In addition, the Council for National Security recommends using benefits from petrochemicals companies and revenues from the free zone of Shat Al-Arab to finance the project.
The AHRO condemns this dangerous project whose sole aim is the ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs through forced migration and the elimination of their existence in the province. The AHRO has contacted international organizations and bodies, especially the Human Rights Council, Indigenous Peoples Commission and the Minority Forum at the United Nations to take a stand against this project and its implications for the indigenous people living in this region.
The AHRO calls on Ahmed Shahid, the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights for Iran, for urgent action to stop this criminal scheme against Ahwazi Arabs, and compel Iran to stop these racist policies which are contrary to international law and treaties.
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO)
2 April 2014