The European Union risks abandoning the issue of human rights in its drive to persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear programme, warned Ahwazi Arab activists this week.
EU negotiators from France, Germany and the UK have offered Iran a number of incentives in return for a commitment not to resume uranium enrichment as part of an alleged nuclear weapons programme. Human rights campaigners fear that the EU could abandon criticism of Iran's worsening human rights record to appease the regime.
Spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), Nasser Ban-Assad, said: "The EU has gone quiet on human rights issues in Iran, which is very worrying. Since Ahmadinejad's election, there have been over 260 separate anti-government demonstrations in Iran.
"Protests in Khuzestan and Kurdistan, home to the Ahwazi Arab and Kurdish minorities, have been attacked by the security forces and rioting has erupted. Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari, has highlighted the issue of land consfication, homelessness and deprivation among the country's ethnic minorities.
"We hope that the EU will respond to these problems in the same way as it has responded to concerns over nuclear proliferation. Stability and peace in the Middle East can only be guaranteed when there is respect for human rights. If the EU wants to permanently resolve the issue of an arms build-up in Iran, it must also tackle the fundamental cause, which relates to the existence of an aggressive, dictatorial government in Tehran."