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To Avoid Public Protests, Iran’s Regime Plans To Divide Khuzestan

Khuzestan province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) recently reported that the Iranian regime has decided to split the province of Khuzestan into two following fears of protests in the area. A draft bill for the divide was delivered to the Majlis (parliament) on Sunday, August 15, as declared by the MP for Khuzestan, Mojtaba Yusefi.

The MEK said, “According to the plan, the cities of Abadan, Khorramshahr, Mahshahr, Omidiyeh, Hendijan, Behbehan, Ramhormoz, Aghajari, and Ramshir will become part of South Khuzestan province.”

This decision has been in the making for the last few years. The regime has reportedly discussed the idea to divide the province into several occasions. Among the differing plans conceived at these discussions, the main focus has always been to separate Ahvaz and Abadan, the two key cities of the province.

The MEK said, “The government claims that the plan is aimed at reducing public costs, removing parallel government apparatus and distribute the province’s resources among the population.”

The latest plans follow the major demonstrations that took place in Khuzestan which latest several weeks. The province’s residents were subjected to major water shortages and struggled to obtain their basic needs.

In a bid to combat the protests, the regime resorted to dispatching security forces, who opened fire on the protesters. According to reports, dozens of people were killed and many others were injured, while hundreds of arrests also took place. Following the Khuzestan demonstrations, protests soon spread to other provinces across the country, which soon turned into political protests calling for the overthrow of the regime and its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

The MEK said, “The regime claims that the new divisions will reduce bureaucracy and centralization and will help address the people’s needs. But experts are suggesting that not only the province division will not solve these problems but will add new management overhead.”

By separating Khuzestan into two, it will open up more government posts that the regime will likely fill with their chosen affiliates, who will continue to funnel public wealth back into their own pockets. On the other hand, the regime has contributed greatly to the deterioration of the environmental and economic conditions of the region by preventing investment and building dams across the province.

The MEK said, “Khuzestan is currently faced with a severe water crisis, mainly due to the regime’s destructive policies. In recent weeks, reports from Khuzestan show the Hur ol-Azim marsh drying up and livestock dying due to lack of water.”

The residents of the region are also facing further problems due to electricity outages, a situation which has seen people taking demonstrations to the streets over the blackouts. As for the water shortages, the main reason is the unjustified creation of the Karun River dams, leaving Khuzestan and other provinces nearby being failed by government policies. The new plan for the division of Khuzestan will likely only worsen the conditions that the people in the region are facing.

The MEK said, “It is worth reminding that in November 2020, the regime also handed over a bill to the Majlis that suggested dividing Sistan and Baluchestan into four provinces despite objections by the people. Mohsen Dehnavi, member of the Majlis presidium confirmed the receipt of the bill.”

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