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Authorities to arrest 130 villagers who protested illegal demolition of their homes

Regime authorities in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran, have issued arrest warrants for 130 locals who protested the illegal demolition of their homes by a regime institution
Regime authorities in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran, have issued arrest warrants for 130 locals who protested the illegal demolition of their homes by a regime institution

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 30, 2020—Locals in the village of Abolfazl near Ahvaz, southwest Iran, clashed with the regime’s security forces that intended to demolish their homes on Wednesday, August 26. People showed resistance to the security forces escorting the heavy machinery brought into the area. Authorities have arrest warrants based on bogus charges for 130 of the local Iranian Arabs.

 

The regime’s oppressive security forces used pellet guns and fired tear gas against the protesting locals, leaving several injured and in need of medical attention. Even little children were seen suffering from breathing disorders due to the security forces’ heavy use of tear gas. Various units of the security forces even raided the Abolfazl village, injured a number of the people and arrested dozens, according to sources.

The regime’s Mostazafan Foundation claims to own the land of this village and has ordered all the residents, who have lived in this area for decades, to evacuate their properties.

 

The Abolfazl village is located between the town of Zardasht and an air defense base located northwest of Ahvaz, capital of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province. Long ago the village was used as farmlands and little by little various locals began building homes in this area. To this day no regime entity had ever claimed ownership of these lands.

The village is now part of Ahvaz’s District 8 and consists of eight roads, each leading to more than 40 houses. One square meter in this area is now worth 20 million rials (equal to around $85).

Thirty years ago, following the end of the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, the real estate of Abolfazl village lacked any value and was considered inadequate for farming. Little by little as the city of Ahvaz, capital of the oil-rich Khuzestan province expanded, the real estate value of these areas began to literally skyrocket.

As a result, the regime’s Mostazafan Foundation, with a long and corrupt history of plundering ordinary people’s properties, began claiming ownership over these areas and is now ordering all the villagers to evacuate their homes. To this day any of the locals protesting this act of utter cruelty have been arrested and thrown behind bars.

As the major city of Ahvaz continues to expand, this village and other areas outside of Ahvaz have gained the attention of numerous regime entities and insiders. Many hectares belonging to ordinary people have already been confiscated by various regime institutions, including the Mostazafan Foundation.

During the past two years Abolfazl village locals have on numerous occasions travelled all the way to the Iranian capital Tehran to seek resolutions to this dilemma. “We have livestock and farming documents, and these lands belong to us from our ancestors. In Tehran officials promised to resolve this issue for us,” one local said.

“In Ahvaz they told us to present documents, the cost for each square meter, property information with UTM documents, and a full list of the locals. We had all these documents registered. After some time, we hired the necessary expert and obtained a UTM documents, and were able to present all the documents requested by the Ahvaz branch of the Mostazafan Foundation,” another local said.

“Unfortunately, despite their previous promises and arrangements to resolve this issue, the result was completely the opposite and those officials actually became even more intent on confiscating our lands. A short while later they summoned 130 of the village locals. These individuals were in detention and many of them were released only after we paid bails costing a whopping 2 billion rials (around $8,500). However, even now their cases remain open in court,” he added.

“Municipality agents escorted by state security forces attack our village every now and then, demolishing numerous homes. They even attack us at nights and terrify our families. That is why people are forced to have night guards for the village,” another local said.

Some time ago more than 130 Abolfazl villagers were arrested as they confronted state security forces and municipality authorities. These individuals say they were under severe pressure while in detention and authorities demanded they sign documents allowing the destruction of their homes, which they refused.

Documents proving the locals’ ownership of their lands in the village of Abolfazl near the city of Ahvaz are all available and ready for publication if necessary.

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While over two thirds of Iran’s population live in poverty, ten financial institutions affiliated with the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei enjoy enormous privileges. The following regime-linked institutions are constantly offered exemptions from taxes:

  • The Mostazafan Foundation (The Foundation of the Poor)
  • Setade Ejrae Farman-e Emam (Headquarters of Implementing the Orders of Imam)
  • Shahid Foundation (Martyr Foundation)
  • Emdad Committee (Relief Committee)
  • Sazmane Tablighat Eslami (The Islamic Publicity Organization)
  • The Office of Publicity of Qom
  • Bonyade Maskan (Housing Foundation)
  • Center for Seminary Services
  • The Mostafa AlAlamiyeh Cultural and Social Research Institution

Out of the ten abovementioned institutions, which are closely affiliated with Khamenei’s office, seven received a 70-billion-rial budget (approx. $470 million) from the government back in 2018.

In recent years, the issue of Khamenei-affiliated institutions’ unpaid taxes has incited many protests. Some of these institutions, including the Bonyad-e Mostazafan and the Astan Quds Foundation, have issued hollow statements saying they will pay taxes on their gains. However, critics say that producers will eventually take these taxes from their customers, therefore making it different from the income taxes that all other people and organizations pay.

Khamenei’s economic empire

In the past few years, Khamenei has been using his special privileges to create a massive economic empire for himself. The profiles and outfits that he controls are beyond any form of regulation and government oversight.

Consider just one of the institutions that Khamenei controls: The Bonyad-e Mostazafan.

Founded shortly after the 1979 revolution, Bonyad-e Mostazafan took control of assets owned by the Shah’s family and his regime’s affiliates. It became the owner of thousands of houses, housing complexes, villas, agricultural lands, gardens, mansions, factories, commercial outfits, and bank accounts. The full extent of the value of its assets and income has never been disclosed.

During the era of regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, and after Khamenei took the helm to this day, all information about the Bonyad-e Mostazafan was kept undisclosed under the pretext of being part of the “secrets of beit-e rahbar” (the leader’s house). No one knows about its expenses and income.

Some of the subsets of Bonyad-e Mostazafan include the following:

  • Bonyade Alavi
  • Sina Insurance
  • The Organization of Agriculture and Livestock
  • Persepolis Aviation and Tourism Company
  • Zamzam Company
  • Iran Meat Company
  • Pak Dairy Company

These are just a few of the subsets of the Bonyad, all of which are large companies. They operate under the radar, filling the pockets of the Iranian regime’s highest officials and funding its illicit activities while the lives of the Iranian people continue to plunge even deeper into poverty and misery.

Another one of Khamenei’s personal funds, the “Executive Order of Imam Khomeini,” aka EIKO or SETAD, was discovered to have billions of dollars’ worth of assets. In 2010, an in-depth report by Reuters evaluated the SETAD’s assets at around $95 billion.