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Why Ahwaz is the only Red State in Iran

By Hossein Bouazar

Recently, we have witnessed a big jump in COVID numbers in Ahwaz region, and according to the provincial health officials and the spokesman of the National Corona headquarters, the capacity of Ahwaz hospitals is full.  From today until the end of the year, the provincial offices will operate at 10% capacity, the passages and large commercial complexes of the city will be sealed, and many businesses in the province will be damaged.

 The important question that arises is what happened that Ahwaz, which had blue days last month according to the Ministry of Health’s color scheme, quickly turned red and remained red?  Why is the new COVID or COVID v2 has killed so many people, but other provinces are leading a normal life?

 Al-Ahwaz State has suffered a lot of damage since the war;  At that time, it became a war zone state and was destroyed by the war, even many industries and factories of this state were seriously damaged, however, the people of Ahwaz remained and resisted.  After that, it faced numerous damages due to racist policies and forced migration by the Iranian regime, water transfer, dust, man made floods, and if it has grown in a category such as industry, it has benefited nothing but pollution, and for this reason we see that some cities  in Ahwaz, a state with a population of more than ten and a half million and vast oil and gas resources, is in poverty.

 One of many shortcomings of Al-Ahwaz is in the health sector and a state with a high and scattered population has few hospital facilities, while a large part of this capacity is allocated to non-native patients.  It is a sign that a few months after the outbreak of COVID in the country, Razi Hospital in Ahwaz, which was the first hospital to receive patients with COVID, still did not have a ventilator!

 How come the governor of Hamedan said that cars with Ahwaz license plates will be prevented from entering Hamedan but anyone can enter Ahwaz? Why haven’t they placed some proper COVID restriction in place to combat the pandemic? When we witnessed the growth of COVID in Ahwaz until today, many people in this state have adhered to health protocols, and it can even be said that due to the news wave about the rate of COVID in Ahwaz, the provinces also comply.  So what happened that the state is in red status?

 Many markets in Ahwaz are closed these days, while the markets of Tehran, Hamedan, Isfahan and many other cities have their normal conditions.  We see crowds in these markets. There are at least 25 daily flights from Ahwaz, Abadan, Dezful and Mahshahr airports to other provinces of the country and a large number of passengers travel by bus and train.  How can it be justified that Ahwaz has been struggling with the new COVID for a month and other provinces, even neighboring provinces, do not have such a situation?

 The health care system does not declare a critical situation as long as it has capacity, and when the capacity of hospitals is filled, it declares that it is a critical situation.  As mentioned before, the number of hospitals in Ahwaz is small compared to the population of this region, and for this reason, it will reach the capacity to complete its capacity much sooner.  In addition, many patients come to Ahwaz from neighboring cities. Ahwaz bazaars are very badly damaged these days.

 It is constantly stated that Ahwaz is special, it is red;  Special and fiery conditions also require special and fiery action;  Have we witnessed such an action?  There is no vaccine quota allocated to Ahwaz, why is that?

 The President of Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences warned the regime about the Covid cases and the situation in Ahwaz but no one did anything about it

The President of Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences, stating that we are concerned about the spread of the advanced version of Covid in Ahwaz, said: “It is necessary to take this issue seriously due to the incoming Brazil ships in the port of Imam Khomeini.”

 The Covid version of Brazil is much more dangerous than its English counterpart he added.

Ahwaz is in a situation where 3 out of 4 tests are positive. 

The president of Abadan University of Medical Sciences added more than 75% of the tests were positive.

Recently President of Iran, Rohani said that it is hard to get vaccines and want to move this responsibility to private sector companies.

The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights believes that buying vaccines is the government’s responsibility and such a human right shouldn’t be privatised. 

We, the Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), concerns, while Ahwazi Arabs faced continued oppression and discrimination, the most significant human rights issues included a high number of executions for false confession and false crimes without fair trials of individuals. Torture; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention and imprisonment; of hundreds of political prisoners, are just few examples of how the Iranian regime violates the human rights, but we also should add that the regime’s handling of the Covid situation proves that the regime doesn’t care about Ahwazi lives and that raises a great concerns, and get international attention.

We are calling upon Mr. Javaid Rehman the United Nations special rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Iran and Mrs Agnes Callamard the UN special rapporteur on extraJudicial execution to intervene and stop the Iranian criminal regime from executing innocent prisoners that were arrested without any legal warrant.

Hossein Bouazar is a human rights activist from the Ahwaz region in Iran. He writes about human rights abuses committed on the Arab Ahwazi.

Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights

Date: 2021/04/04

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