Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

UNPO Condemns Iran's Repression of Minorities

UNPO Condemns Iran's Repression of Minorities

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) has released a statement condemning the recent violent repression of ethnic minorities and homosexuals in Iran following the election of right-wing hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

Pointing to the recent execution of two teenagers for alleged homosexuality and clashes between security forces and Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds, Nicola Dell'Arciprete, UNPO Assistant General Secretary, said: "The UNPO condemns the Government's repressive policies against all the Iranian citizens. Iran is a multi-ethnic country in which half of the population belongs to ethnic minorities such as Azeri, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Kurds, Arabs, Lurs, Balochis, Turkmen. While Iranian minorities are committed to co-existing in peace in a secular, democratic and federal Iran, the government's policies of discrimination and persecution impede any peaceful change in the region."

UNPO has called on the European Union and all governments that maintain diplomatic relations with the Iranian Government to suspend all contact with the Iranian regime until the respect of the most basic human rights for all the Iranian citizens and ethnic minorities is restored.

UNPO represents a number of nations and peoples across the world that are not represented by the United Nations, including Al-Ahwaz, Kosova, Kurdistan, Somaliland, Taiwan, Tibet, West Papua and Zanzibar. All member organisations are commited to finding non-violent solutions to conflicts that affect them. The Ahwazi Arabs are represented at UNPO by the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA), with which the British Ahwazi Friendship Society works closely.

The DSPA is also a member of the Congreh Meliathai-e-Iran-e-Federal (Congress of Iranian Nationalities for a Federal Iran) (CINFI), which was founded in London in February 2005 and also includes parties representing Azeris, Balochis, Kurds and Turkmen. CINFI's manifesto is dedicated to the separate of religion and state and "a federal system of government, on the basis of national ethnicity and geography, in a united and an integral Iran."

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) urges members of the European Parliament to continue to listen to the voices of Iran's oppressed minorities and to prioritise human rights abuse in EU relations with Iran.

Manifesto of the Congress of Iranian Nationalities for a Federal Iran
Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz
Ahwaz Studies Centre
Oral statement to UNCHR's 61st session on the situation of Iraqi Turkmen and the Ahwazis
Iran: 30 arrested and four killed as Ahwaz unrest continues

Iran: 30 arrested and four killed as Ahwaz unrest continues

The Reuters news agency has quoted sources in Khuzestan which claim that four people have died in rioting throughout the province. The government claims that it has arrested 30 people involved in the unrest.

Speaking to local newspapers, Saeed Saadi, head of civil protection in Khuzestan, claimed that the unrest was triggered by protests over a fraud scandal. However, opposition groups claim that Ahwazi flags were flown from many Arab homes in Khuzestan, indicating that the demonstrations had turned against the regime. The latest protests come 100 days after the "Bloody Friday" massacre, in which scores of Ahwazi Arabs were killed by security forces during anti-government protests.

Meanwhile, the regime has been fighting Kurds in the Kurdish towns of Oshnavieh and Mahabad amid ethnic unrest and calls for Kurdish autonomy. Two Kurds and three Iranian policemen have been killed in Oshnavieh.

Unrest in the Baluchi homeland, which straddles the Iran-Pakistan border, is threatening the planned Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. India is reportedly concerned that the pipeline would be attacked by Baluchis, who suffer the kind of economic and political marginalisation experienced by Ahwazis in Khuzestan.
Iran: "Three dead" as unrest in Ahwaz continues

Iran: "Three dead" as unrest in Ahwaz continues

Iranian security fired indiscriminately at demonstrators in Khuzestan as unrest among Ahwazi Arab continued into a third day on Tuesday.

According one source, three Arabs were killed during anti-government protests, which spread throughout the Arab-majority province of Khuzestan. An explosion in the centre of Ahwaz City was also reported.

Ethnic unrest has also erupted in Iranian Kurdistan, with anti-government protests in Oshnavieh, where two demonstrators - Heydar Abdollahzadeh and Amr Amini - were shot dead by the State Security Forces.
Iran: Anti-Government Demonstrations Erupt in Ahwaz

Iran: Anti-Government Demonstrations Erupt in Ahwaz

The first anti-government protests since last month's presidential elections erupted at the weekend in Ahwaz City.

Demonstrators chanted slogans denouncing Tehran's policy of ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs in the province of Khuzestan, the centre of the Ahwazi homeland.

According to Iran Focus, an Iranian opposition website, witnesses said heavy clashes broke out in the district of Shilang-Abad and soon spread to Lashkar-Abad, Panj Tabaqeh, Mashali, Kian-Pars, Kut-Abdollah, Khashayar, and Zarqan regions. The demonstrations escalated with police cars and state-owned banks set alight.

Barricades made of burning tyres were set up in some streets, while groups of protestors attacked State Security Force vehicles to free those who had been arrested by the police. Police fired on demonstrators in Kuy Enghelab.

Ahwaz City has recently experienced a rise in protests by Ahwazi Arabs, with more than 150 killed by security forces during two weeks of civil unrest in April. Khuzestan contains 80-90 per cent of Iran's oil reserves and represents around 10 per cent of OPEC's total output. None of the wealth generated is redistributed to the province's 4.5 million indigenous Ahwazi Arabs inhabitants, most of whom have been living in absolute poverty since their land was expropriated by Tehran for the oil, gas and sugar industries.

The Iranian government is implementing a policy for forced migration, driving the Ahwazis from Khuzestan to other provinces and populating the Ahwazi homeland with "compliant" ethnic groups, particularly those perceived to be loyal to the military or religious elite.

A combination of abject poverty and the government's ethnic cleansing policies have prompted a rise in civil unrest. This weekend's revolt indicates that Ahwazis have no faith in the new Ahmadinejad administration.

Useful documents:
The Economic Marginalisation of Ahwazis
Forced Migration and Land Confiscation
Human Rights Watch: Reports of Ethnic Violence Suppressed
The Identity and Ancestry of the Indigenous Khuzestani Arabs of Iran
Iran's Execution of Gays Part of Ethnic Repression

Iran's Execution of Gays Part of Ethnic Repression

The execution of two young men in Iran for the alleged rape of a 13 year old boy could be an attempt by the regime to smear and terrorise the indigenous Ahwazi Arab population of Khuzestan, claim Ahwazi human rights activists.

The teenagers - an 18 year old and a 16 year old - were hung in Edalat Square in the city of Mashhad on 19 July. The London-based Times newspaper pointed to reports in Iranian newspapers that claimed the young men were originally from the Arab-majority province of Khuzestan. Human rights activists believe they were tortured into confessing to homosexual acts, which are punishable by death in Iran. Similar executions took place in May when three indigenous Ahwazi Arab men were executed in Susangerd, Khuzestan, for the alleged rape and murder of a six year old. In each case, the men's names were continually repeated in the Iranian press, to highlight their Arab identity.

Human rights groups in Iran and the West have condemned the recent executions. Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi claimed that Iran has violated its obligations under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans such executions. Since 1999, 11 children have been killed in public executions.

Peter Tatchell of the British gay human rights group Outrage! said: "This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran.

"The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.

"Britain's Labour government is pursuing friendly relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade. We urge the international community to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran."

Extremists have threatened to behead Tatchell and other human rights activists for campaigning against the killing of gay people in Iran and other countries.

Outrage! claims that of the 100,000 people executed in Iran since 1979, 4,000 have been killed for alleged homosexual acts, adding that "The victims include ... political opponents of the Islamist government." Amnesty International said that Iran executed 159 people in 2004, a figure exceeded only by China.

By targetting Arabs, the Iranian regime is clearly using the social taboo of homosexuality and the heinous crime of child rape to justify the social marginalisation of the Ahwazi Arab population. Racial discrimination against Arabs and the summary nature of the Iranian justice system mean that Arabs rarely receive a fair trial. Criminal charges are often trumped up to achieve political ends, in this case the portrayal of Arabs as morally degenerate.

In the past, the government used a moral purge on pornography to raid shops that sell Arabic language literature and seize satellite dishes capable of receiving foreign transmissions. The regime is keen to highlight problems of alcoholism and heroin addiction in Khuzestan - problems that are also prevalent in many other impoverished areas of Iran - to under-line its portrayal of Arabs as lawless, backward and immoral. The regime equates Arabs with moral depravity to justify ethnic repression and state terrorism against Iran's 4.5 million Ahwazi Arabs.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) calls for an end to the use of the death penalty against homosexuals and urges the international community act against the persecution of all minority groups in Iran.

Urgent action:

Protest to the Iranian Ambassador:
Tel: 020 7225 3000 Fax: 020 7589 4440

Iranian Ambassador
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince's Gate
London SW7 1PT

If you live outside the UK, protest to the Iranian Embassy in your country, and press your government to break off diplomatic relations and impose trade sanctions against Iran.
Britain's Costain Group Condemned Over Iran Investment

Britain's Costain Group Condemned Over Iran Investment

Ahwazi Arabs have condemned the UK-based Costain Group, which was recently awarded a contract by the Iranian regime to build a US$1.6 billion gas processing facility in Khuzestan. [Costain press release]

Ahwazi Arabs have been subjected to a policy of "ethnic restructuring" and Persianisation, in which their resource-rich agricultural land has been ritually confiscated to benefit the oil, gas and sugar industries. Land confiscation has been accompanied by the forced migration, human rights abuse and massacres of Ahwazis. Profits from the oil and gas industries are shared between Iran's elite and foreign investors, such as China's Sinopec Corporation and Norway's Statoil. The Costain Group is just another foreign corporation taking financial advantage of Iran's ethnic cleansing in Khuzestan.

While stolen Arab lands enrich foreigners, the indigenous Ahwazi inhabitants of Khuzestan are left in a state of poverty and are denied access to basic services. In April 2005, thousands of Ahwazis took to the streets in protest over poverty, forced migration and the programme of land expropriation. More than 150 unarmed demonstrators were killed in cold blood. The massacre was condemned by leading human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

This has not deterred the UK's Costain Oil, Gas & Process (COGAP), part of the Costain Group, from bidding for the lucrative contract to become lead contractor for the Bidboland 2 gas treatment facility, which is being built on Ahwazi territory. According to Forbes, COGAP will be paid US$300 million for the project, which is expected to take four years to complete. Other companies in the COGAP-led consortium are Dragados, a unit of Spanish construction group Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, and two Iranian companies, Jahanpars and Sazeh. When construction is completed, the plant will be able to process up to to two billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Stuart Doughty, Chief Executive of the Costain Group, said: "This contract is a significant boost to our strategy of developing an international gas processing business."

Spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), Nasser Ban-Assad, said: "Costain has the blood of Ahwazis on its hands. It is participating in Iran's exploitation of resources that have been violently stolen from the Ahwazi people. These industrial projects rarely employ local Ahwazis and rely on labour drawn from other parts of the country. The profits made by the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries in Khuzestan are not redistributed to the Ahwazis. Not one Ahwazi will receive a penny from Costain's multi-million pound contract.

"Costain, like so many other foreign investors in Khuzestan, are perpetuating what Amnesty has labelled as a 'cycle of violence' against the Ahwazi people. Ahwazis will pay a blood price for Costain's greed."

BAFS is calling on human rights groups and individuals in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world to protest against Costain's involvement in Khuzestan.

Please write protest letters to:
Stuart Doughty
Chief Executive, Costain Group
Costain House
Nicholsons Walk
United Kingdom

Charles Sweeney
Managing Director, Costain Oil, Gas & Process Ltd
Costain House
Styal Road
M22 5WN
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 161 910 3004

Kevin Jordan
Director, Middle East Operations
Costain Abu Dhabi
PO Box 3069
Mussafah Industrial Area
Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 2 555 3920

Also, write to your local political representative. If you are in the UK, fax your local Member of Parliament free by entering your post code here:
London's Ahwazi Arabs Condemn Bomb Attacks

London's Ahwazi Arabs Condemn Bomb Attacks

Ahwazi Arabs living in London have expressed their shock and dismay over the bomb attacks on the city.

London is home to 2,000-3,000 Ahwazi Arabs, many of whom have been given sanctuary by the British government after fleeing tyranny and oppression in Iran. The British capital is their second home and a place of refuge.

Nasser Ban-Assad, spokesman of the British Ahwazi Friendship Society and a London resident, said: "The bombers do not represent the Arab people, either in the Arab world or the Arab diaspora. We reject all violence, particularly violence against civilians. An injury to one is an injury to all. London's Arab community is as affected as anyone else by the attacks. The terrorists have attacked people indiscriminately, whatever their background, ideology, religion or ethnicity. The Ahwazi Arabs stand united with the people of London and the UK against terrorism, in all its forms and wherever it occurs."