Here’s a letter that came by way of the British Ahwazi Friendship Society.
In it, Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, former Chief Secretary of former President Khatami’s Office, details a plan by which the majority Arab population of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan can be reduced to less than a third of the current regional demographic; a planned relocation of about 1.25 million people. During the past ten years (the end of the target window for the program), few Ahwazis have agreed to be moved, but their majority status in Khuzestan has been eroded by a steady, government-sponsored influx of Azeris and Persians. Translation follows:
Emblem of the Islamic Republic
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Office of the President
Head of the Executive Office
Number Date Attachment 5/316/20675 (hand written)
In the Name of Allah
Head of the respectful Department of planning and budget- Mr. Dr. Najafi
Pursuant to the policies set forth, and the legislation approved by the National Security
Council, with regards to changing the population demography of Arabs of Khuzestan and their appropriate resettlement to other parts of the country, it is necessary that the attached approved instructions be directed to all relevant subsidiary organizations for execution.
1. The Arab population of Khuzestan must be reduced to a third of the total population of
Khuzestan within 10 years, with the rest of the population to be composed of Farsi-speaking residents and migrants.
2. On the resettlement of other ethnic groups, especially the Azeri (Turks) to Khuzestan
province, in addition to the facilities approved under legislations # 16-32/971/5-7, dated
14/4/1376 (July 5, 1997) – other arrangements have been made to facilitate this (forced resettlement) which will be announced in the future.
3. It is necessary to increase the resettlement of their (Arab) educated class to other provinces, especially to Isfahan, Tehran and Tabriz.
4. Proof of the existence of this ethnic group (Arabs) should be eradicated, including the
changing of remaining (Arabic) names of cities, villages, regions and streets to Farsi names.
5. Arabic-speaking people should be used for the execution of this legislation, although the secrecy of this programme must be respected.
6. Newly approved legislation regarding the (forced) migration of (university) students, civil servants, teachers, military and security forces and farmers to other provinces, are attached.
Sayed Mohammad-Ali Abtahi
TOP SECRET 27686/62 2/5/1377 (July 24, 1998)
1. Ministry of Information (Security)
2. Ministry of Interior
3. Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
4. Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance
And I thought that President Khatami was considered a ‘moderate’?