Yesterday a number of agricultural workers from the Ahwazi town of Hendijan staged a sit in front of the Iranian ministry of agriculture and the governorate building in which they protested the theft of the waters of the Zohreh River as well as the general deteriorating conditions of the agricultural sector and the government intentional disregard for the needs of Hendijan.
According to the Ahwaz Monitor sources, the protesters threatened to escalate their activities in protest over the Iranian attempts to dry Ahwaz in order to replace its indigenous population with Persian settlers.
The agricultural workers said that got about ten consecutive seasons the Iranian government has ignored the needs of the Hendijan region and has redirected the course of the Zohreh River into the heart of Persian areas thus drying the river completely.
This is in addition to the fact that most peasants in Hendijan are indebted to the agricultural companies and are threatened with imprisonment if they can’t pay off their debts.The Arab peasants of Hendijan called on the Iranian government to announce Hendijan a devastated region and decree emergency measures for recovery. Losses in the Hendijan were estimated at around 300 billion Iranian Tomans affecting large number of Arab Ahwazis who live off agriculture.
One of the agricultural experts said that the losses suffered by the Arab farmers were caused by the heavy salinity of the local water supply due to the regime’s program of dam-building and river diversion; this salinity has in turn led to far lower crop yields. Lacking the data or expertise to assess the causes of the worsening situation, many of the farmers are erroneously blaming lower rainfall rather than the increasing salinity levels for these problems.
The local Arab farmers said that while most of their farm lands are located near the rivers, they are deprived access to irrigation systems and remain dependent on rains. However, in the past five years due to lack of rainfall and a long-term drought, Arab farmers have suffered huge setbacks.
In an attempt to overcome this problem, the local people without receiving any aid from the government have tried desperately to dig irrigation canals from the rivers. But they failed due to lack of adequate expertise and excavating machines.