Iranian regime municipal officials in the city of Ahwaz reportedly used electric tasers to attack a defenceless 70-year-old Ahwazi lady who was working as a street vendor, knocking her unconscious and almost killing her.
Photos of the elderly lady lying unconscious on the ground following the attack quickly circulated on Ahwazi news sites on Twitter and Facebook, causing widespread outrage and disgust both at the savage assault on an old lady and at the refusal of police to press charges against the assailants. According to her son, the ten municipal officials responsible for the assault launched the attack on Tuesday, December 6 as they were attempting to confiscate the merchandise of the lady and other street vendors on the city’s Taleghani Street.
In an interview with the Khuzestan News site, the lady’s son, who gave his name only as Samir, fearing further retaliation by the regime against him and his mother, said that since she was released from the hospital following treatment, he has had to rush her back to the casualty unit on a daily basis since the attack has severely affected her health. He added that the police have refused to take any action against the officials responsible for the brutal assault.
He explained that his mother eked out a living selling a variety of items, including socks, gloves, shampoo and other goods, from the stall. When the municipal officials carried out a raid, she objected to the confiscation of her goods, which resulted in them using the powerful stun guns to electrocute her, knocking her unconscious. He and other local residents subsequently rushed her to hospital.
Samir added that he has attempted on a number of occasions since the attack to lodge complaints against the assailants at the local police station, Police Station 13, but has been rebuffed by police officers there.
Unfortunately, such brutal and unjustified attacks by regime officials against street vendors are not unusual, with regime forces and municipal officials routinely terrorizing the vendors, mostly women, in various areas of the capital and confiscating the merchandise which the desperately poor traders rely on to feed their families.
Any attempt to resist or object to this systematic injustice is met with further brutality, physical and verbal abuse, and often in arrest.
Although the Ahwaz region is the home of over 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by the Iranian regime, the indigenous Ahwazi people are subjected to a brutal unofficial apartheid system by the regime, which routinely denigrates Ahwazis for their Arab ethnicity, and denied any of the wealth from the resources on their own lands.
The regime denies Ahwazis, particularly those with degrees and diplomas, any jobs but the most unskilled and low-paid in the oil and gas industry, as well as in other fields. Ahwazis who do manage to get jobs receive far less than their ethnically Iranian counterparts, who are lured to the area by the promise of high wages and homes in ethnically homogenous settlements provided with all amenities, which are denied to the indigenous Ahwazi people. The massive poverty resulting from this grotesque apartheid-style oppression has driven many Ahwazis to become street vendors simply in order to stay alive and feed their families.
Even in these endeavours, however, Ahwazis continue to be persecuted by the regime, as last week’s attack on the elderly lady once again proves.