An Ahwazi Arab MP has accused the Iranian government of once again ignoring the Ahwazi people’s needs in the 2017 budget.
Speaking during the parliamentary debate on the new budget, Abdallah Sameri, representing the Mohammareh constituency (known as ‘Khoramshahr’ in Farsi), said that the spending allocated for development in the already impoverished province is grossly inadequate, which he said had led to widespread anger among his constituents.
The MP further said that the government had failed yet again to meet its commitments towards the Ahwazi people, despite the vast majority of the Iranian state’s revenue coming from the Ahwazi people’s resources; over 90 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran are located in the region, which also provides water for much of country, with rivers across Ahwaz being dammed and diverted to other areas of Iran.
Despite the disproportionate wealth of resources provided by Ahwaz, Sameri told the Majlis (parliament), the government had failed to provide any funding for development in the deprived region. He said that although Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, Rouhani’s economic adviser and the head of the state budgetary body, claimed that the government had paid 35 trillion Tomans (approximately $370 million) towards Ahwaz, or nearly half the total proposed budget for the region, nobody there had seen this sum, asking rhetorically where the money had gone and what it had been spent on. Why is it impossible to see any of this investment in the province, Sameri asked.
Ahwazi Arab MPs have been pleading with the regime administration for some time to allocate at least three percent of the annual budget assigned for the severely impoverished province to development, including employment projects and others to reduce the massive air and water pollution there, with all their proposals being immediately rejected.
In the same parliamentary speech, Sameri also addressed the subject of the regime’s project to divert water from the Karoon river to other areas of Iran, one of a number of environmentally devastating river-damming and diversion programs by the state in the province, saying, “We as Ahwazi MPs are collectively united in opposition to this unacceptable project and we have raised our objections to it.” The MP said that while Rouhani had claimed to be unaware of the project, the people remained unsatisfied with this evasion and the MPs would not stop raising the issue until they receive a satisfactory response.
Sameri finally issued an impassioned appeal to Rouhani and the members of his administration, warning that neglecting Ahwazi MP’s concerns signifies a contemptuous disregard for the needs of the Ahwazi people, adding that the MPs would let the people know about these government-imposed constraints.