The sad story of Iran’s Khuzestan province has not ended. Drinking water, electricity, and health care are becoming people’s dreams, so speaking about inflation, unemployment, poverty, and misery is nonsense. Ahvaz and other cities of this province in addition to these miseries are facing the disaster of the municipal sewage.
The sewage not only flows on the streets of these cities, but with the slightest rain, the sewage erupts and overfloods all streets, alleys, people’s houses, and even hospitals and health centers.
This situation was so dramatic that international agencies decided to give a large loan to Iran to overcome this situation. But as usual in this corrupt regime, this money and aid did not reach the people and this resource was looted.
Amazingly, now after the latest protests by Khuzestan’s residents, the regime’s officials remember this loan and are asking each other about the fate of that $149 million which was given to the regime in 2005 by the World Bank.
This loan should have put an end to this health disaster but now it has become one of the main subjects of the people in the social media and public’s opinion.
And again, as usual, the response of the officials is no one knows what happened to this loan. This event was so inexplicable that the then governor was forced to call it “Money poisoning.”
Then the official as a red herring used the alibi of a dispute between the Water and Sewerage Company and the municipality.
“Khuzestan Water and Sewerage Authorities, instead of questioning how the previous credits were allocated, have started a war between water, sewage and the municipality.” (State-run daily Etemad, December 26, 2019)
In a factional dispute, the then governor said: “In Khuzestan, we have suffered from a kind of money poisoning, which means that the projects are funded, but nothing is done. Shariati sharply criticizes the implementation process of the Ahwaz Wastewater Treatment Plant and specifically the Provincial Water and Sewerage Company and says: ‘In the province and Ahvaz, not all issues are related to the lack of money and credit, this can be seen in the non-implementation of the Ahwaz Wastewater Treatment Plant, which in the last 15 years has been allocated a lot of credit resources, including a World Bank loan, but has been not fulfilled.” (State-run daily Etemad, December 26, 2019)
At the same time, the head of water and sewage in the province had said that “A former high-ranking official of the province was involved in the seizure of this loan in 2005, but this revelation was not tracked.” (IRNA, December 20, 2019)
He mocked this official and said: “Instead of announcing what happened to the World Bank money, he appeared as a plaintiff and becomes a pretender for the current situation of water and sewage in Ahvaz.” (IRNA, December 20, 2019)
Finally, the Friday Prayers Leader of Ahvaz added his voice: “In the early 2000s, the World Bank allocated a large amount of credit to solve the problem of sewage in Ahvaz and some parts of the country, but unfortunately these credits were not spent in this city.” (IRNA, December 20, 2019)
Since then, constantly the regime’s media are speaking and writing about this corruption and the disaster raised by it. Here are just a few examples:
“For the umpteenth time, billions of dollars will be allocated to regulate the province’s sewage situation. Due to the ambiguity in the way of allocating billion (tomans) budgets, the sewage situation of Khuzestan province is stagnated for many years.” (Etemad, December 26, 2019)
“So far, large budgets have been allocated to solve Ahwaz’s sewage problems, but the streets of the metropolis are still flooded with every rain and as soon as the ground gets wetter.” (Javan News Agency, December 27, 2020)
In the 2000s, the World Bank predicted the current situation of Ahwaz’s sewage system and considered a loan to improve the sewerage network, but it remains to be seen where the money of this loan was spent. After about a decade and a half, the Ahwaz sewage problem has not been solved.” (Mardom Salari, July 24, 2021)
“The loan agreement was signed in March 2004 in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Economy, the Deputy Minister of Energy, the Successor Minister of Energy, as well as representatives of the World Bank. But after the essence of the signing of this contract dried up and the change of government in 2005, until the end of the ninth government, Khuzestan sewage and the World Bank loan were forgotten. This loan may have been lost somewhere in history.” (Iran Plus, July 29, 2021)