Note: The water crisis in Khuzestan, southwestern Iran drew thousands of protesters to the streets of Khuzestan and some other parts of Iran. Few days after the demonstration in Khuzestan, the first vice president and some other officials attended the protest scene, but it didn’t calm down the angry protesters.
In this regard, SunniOnline, the official website of the Iranian Sunni community talked with Shaikh Abdol-Hameed, the most influential Iranian Sunni leader about the demands of ethnic and religious communities of Iran and how to get rid of the country’s current crises.
The unheard outcry
In this interview, Shaikh Abdol-Hameed called ignoring the facts in Iran as the main source of the problems in the country and said: “Some officials deny to accept the facts in the country. The country is safe when the policies are made according to the facts”.
“The ethnicities in the country are a fact; Arabs, Kurds, Lors, Turks, Turkmens, Baluchs, Persians and other ethnic communities are facts. All love Iran”, said the Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan.
He urged: “Throughout history, they shed blood in defense of the country’s territorial integrity and protected the country from foreign aggression”.
Shaikh Abdol-Hameed said: “Our Arab compatriots compare their situation with the Arabs of Kuwait and other Gulf countries. The Arabs of Iran live in poverty and face discrimination with no significant political role in their fate, while their province is enriched with oil, mines and it was full of water. Such a condition leads them to protest”.
Why Iranian ethnic communities complain?
Shaikh Abdol-Hameed referred to the situation of Kurds in Iran and said: “The Kurds live in several neighboring countries. The situation of the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey is far better than the situation of the Kurds in Iran; there are several Kurdish ministers and high-ranking officials in Turkey as there are about 70 Kurds MPs in Turkey, too. In Iraq, the president is a Kurd. But in Iran, the Kurds are under severe discrimination and pressure. They are deprived of key positions in Iran”.
“Outside Turks and Turkmens rule in countries like Turkey and Turkmenistan. But in our country they feel discrimination”, president of Darululoom Zahedan said.
Comparing the situation of the Baluchs of Iran with the Baluchs of Pakistan and the Persian Gulf countries, Shaikh Abdol-Hameed said: “The Baluchs of Pakistan, despite many problems, have been appointed as president, prime minister, federal ministers, provincial governor, and chairman of the senate and so on. They achieved high military ranks in the armed forces.”
“In Oman and some Arab countries, Baluchs have been appointed as ministers and as ambassadors and they have played important roles in the armed forces, including chief of staff of the armed forces. But In Iran, Baluchs are hardly appointed as district governors and are deprived of key positions”.
Pointing out to the attempts to divide Sistan-Balochistan province, the prominent Sunni scholar of Sistan-Balochistan said: “Authorities want to divide Sistan and Baluchestan but our people believe that this plan is not for the development of Balochistan, but to eliminate the name and identity of Balochistan and to weaken it as they did in other ethnic regions”.
He criticized seizing people’s lands in the coastal areas of Iranian Balochistan and said: “The Makoran Coast Development strategic project may has been designed in the center for development, but actually it made people worried as their lands have been seized and the looters are in line to occupy people’s wealth.”
Religious communities in the country are a fact
Considering ethnic and religious diversity as an opportunity in Iran, Mawlana Abdol-Hameed said: “Religions and religious sects and tendencies in the country are a fact; Sunnis and Shiites of Iran have historical roots in this land”.
He criticized religious restrictions against Sunnis by saying: “Some officials want to take control over Sunni religious affairs, even to impose restrictions in remote villages, which is against the law and custom.”
He said: “Unfortunately, religious minorities are not respected in the country.”
Iranians are dissatisfied with the authorities
Referring to the problems that have caused dissatisfaction among the people, the Iranian Sunnis’ leader noted: “People are facing many livelihood and economic problems that should be addressed.”
“The various pressures of life, financial corruption and the heavy money and wealth that are spent abroad, have created an economic crisis and misery for the common people,” he underlined.
Shaikh-ul-Islam Mawlana Abdol-Hameed referred to the pandemic of the COVID 19 and said: “If authorities put vaccination first, we wouldn’t have witnessed these casualties today”.
He said: “All developed countries have succeeded in mass vaccination, but we are in the fifth wave of the COVID 19 in Iran. We have lost so many people which is a very painful and tragic incident”.
“Unfortunately, we have lost our best people. There is no bed in hospitals. People are in the worst situation,” he expressed his concerns.
“Why Iranians suffer from the lack of facilities in hospitals? Shaikh Abdol-Hameed questioned.
He continued: “The most important need of the people is to get vaccines. The authorities should have imported the vaccine from any possible country and saved the lives of people “.
“Developed countries vaccinated their people. Why did the Iranian authorities not succeed in this plan?” he questioned.
“I request that this problem must be addressed as soon as possible”, the most outstanding Sunni leader of Zahedan urged.
President-elect Raisi, Iran’s last hope
In the final part of this interview, Shaikh Abdol-Hameed referred to the 1400 presidential election in Iran and said: “Opportunities are provided for the president-elect Raisi to rescue the country from the current crisis. All state powers are going to be in the control of one wing. I consider the new administration “the last hope” for Iran.”
The Friday prayer leader of Sunnis in Zahedan warned the elected president about the faults of the pasts and said: “The elected president should change the past policies and satisfy all parties and religious communities in Iran.”
“The next president must eliminate discrimination, respect religious freedoms, and share power with ethnic minorities in key positions”, he concluded his points.