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Iran Governor Bans Officials From Leaving Oil-Rich Province Amid Flood Alarm

The governor of Khuzestan, the biggest oil-rich province in Iran, has banned government officials from leaving it despite the danger of floods in the region, Radio Farda reports, citing a statement by Gholamreza Shariati.

"Since there are some concerns over the basin of Karkheh River, forces have been assigned to check the floodgates, and do whatever necessary to confront a possible flash flood in the province," the Khuzestan governor said.

The local meteorological service has warned there is a danger of floods in parts of the west and southwest of the country as well as freezing temperatures. While drought is a typical occurrence in the southern province of Khuzestan, now it’s another disaster threatening the region and putting the capabilities of local authorities to handle emergencies to the test.

The Khuzestan governor’s statement comes after Iran’s vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, fired another governor for failing to return from a trip to Europe to oversee the management of the flood emergency in his area.

According to a CIA file, Khuzestan accounts for almost 70 percent of the country’s oil production. More importantly, perhaps, the province produces almost all of Iran’s natural gas. It also houses four ports that are Iran’s largest exit point for various exports.

Despite the oil wealth, Khuzestan is one of the poorest regions of Iran and it is also home to most of its Arab population, which, according to the CIA, accounts for two-thirds of the province’s total population.

This population, for its part, accounts for a small percentage of the total, at 6.5 percent, yet it is far from peaceful: last year, Arab separatists killed 29 people during a military parade in the latest outbreak of violence among a population that’s comparable in its strife to the communities in the Niger Delta.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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