City officials told my father they wanted to buy part of his property, but he had not arrived at any agreement with them. During negotiations, we had repeatedly said that if they wanted to buy us out, they would have to buy my father’s entire property, not just the yard where the bathroom and kitchen were located. [Separate kitchen and bathrooms are not uncommon in old Iranian houses]. We explained that if we only sold half, it would on the one hand be impossible to live in this half-house, and on the other hand it would be impossible to sell it in this state in order to buy a new one.
Remnants of household appliances.
They warned us that there was very little time left to reach a deal, but we didn’t think they would try anything until the end of Ramadan [in early August]. So when workers arrived with bulldozers at 10 a.m. on July 16, we were caught by surprise. They said they had a verdict from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, but we were never shown this authorisation.
“I tried to block the bulldozers, and was arrested”
My father is chronically ill. I couldn’t let them do this to him and my mother, so I tried to block the bulldozers. I was outnumbered by the 10 city workers and four police officers. They arrested me, and detained me until late in the night. When I went back, they had already destroyed the whole yard, including the bathroom and the kitchen. I am now collecting witness reports from neighbours in order to lodge a complaint against the city.
The city has said we would get compensated, but they haven’t told us how much we would get, and we haven’t received anything yet. My family is now living in a house without a bathroom or a kitchen. And many other families in the neighbourhood are facing similar problems, with the city trying to buy only part of their properties. I think they’re just trying to force them into leaving altogether.