DISCLAIMER: all opinions in this column reflect view of the autor(s), not of Vocal Europe
A notorious hardline anti-Arab, Persian supremacist political party, named the ‘Pan-Persian Party’, has been receiving support from the Iranian regime to intensify its political activities in the Arab Ahwaz region of Iran to appeal to the many Persian settlers there, who live in ethnically homogenous settlements forbidden to the region’s Arab population.
Credible local sources in the Arab Ahwaz region, located in southwestern Iran, said that the party is trying to benefit from the presence of large numbers of Persian settlers there to boost its profile and attract new members. Local people who have been monitoring the party’s activities said that it has been distributing racist, anti-Arab hate literature, including a newspaper called “Ruling Nation”, with party members giving public speeches falsifying Ahwazi history and boasting of the racial purity and sanctity of the Persian race.
The Pan-Persian Party’s activities don’t stop at speeches and the dissemination of hate literature, also extending to racist incitement against the indigenous Ahwazi Arab people, with party members demanding publicly that the regime step up its policy of forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of Arabs, and that it construct more ethnically homogenous settlements for Persian settlers, spread the Farsi language at the expense of the local people’s native tongue, Arabic (already proscribed by the regime), and oppose all manifestations of Arab identity.
The Pan-Persian Party’s headquarters in Ahwaz region, run by its Secretary-General, Zahra Safar Pur and his deputy Manouchehr Yazdi, are located in the Farhang Shahr neighbourhood of the eponymously named regional capital, Ahwaz, while the party has also opened another regional branch, also with the regime’s full approval, in the town of Abadan to the southwest of the capital.
The sources added that the party’s increasing visibility in the region at the present time, coinciding with the Persian settlers’ celebration of the ‘Nowruz’ New Year festival, is a sign of the regime’s fears over rising Arab awareness and support for Ahwazi freedom amongst the indigenous people of the region in the last decade.
The party’s activities are carried out in full view of the regime’s representatives in the region and under their auspices, with party members loitering in parks and public spaces to harass Arab peoples from the area, with no objection from the regime authorities, who routinely persecute Ahwazi peoples.
The ‘Pan-Persian Party’ is well known for its deeply racist orientation and its insistence that Persian identity should be forcibly imposed on all parts of Iran, while coexistence should be shunned, despite the fact that more than half of the population is made up of ethnic minorities. Party members refuse to acknowledge Ahwazis’ Arab ethnicity, referring to its Arab citizens as Arabic-speaking Persians who were “Arabized” by their geographic proximity to Arab nations. It should be noted that the anti-Arab party is the only political party in the ethnically Arab Ahwaz region authorized by the leadership in Tehran, with the regime banning the establishment of any Ahwazi groups, whether political or civil in nature, regardless of their orientation, even if they are cultural bodies.
The regime’s support for the Pan-Persian Party, which has two main offices, one in Tehran and the other in Ahwaz, is seen in the region as a clear indication of the fear among the so-called “Islamic Republic’s” leadership of increasing support for autonomy and greater cultural awareness among Ahwazis, which it is intent on crushing by all means.
The regime’s support for the party is unsurprising; despite the fact that the party openly rejects the mandate of the Velayat-e Faqih or “Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist”, which is the foundation of the theocratic regime, the Pan-Persian Party shares the regime’s worldview, glorifying Iran’s imperial history and loudly supporting Iranian expansionism with slogans advocating the “repossession” of other Arab nations such as Iraq and Bahrain as provinces of Greater Iran.
The rise of such ultra-nationalism in Iran should be viewed through the lens of the doctrines propagated by its theoreticians and founders, with the modern Iranian state largely built on the theories of senior Aryan supremacist ideologues such as Kermani and Kasravi, whose ideas were based on the assimilation of other ethnic groups, which the regime largely views as inferior in nature, into one, superior “Persian” nation.