A court has this week ordered 15 Ahwazi Arab protestors to public flogging and hefty jail sentences.
The men were allegedly involved in last month's wave of demonstrations against the regime's treatment of the Ahwazi Arab minority in Khuzestan, the heart of the Ahwazi Arab homeland. They were accused of setting up barricades made of burning tyres and throwing stones at government buildings and police vehicles in Ahwaz City.
The Ahwazi Arabs have been responsible for Iran's largest anti-government demonstrations. In April, thousands of Ahwazis demonstrated throughout the oil-rich province against land confiscation and poverty. The security forces massacred more than 160 Arabs in the protests. Since then, Ahwazis have been subjected to strict curfews and live under de facto martial law.
The 4.5 million Ahwazi Arabs are among the poorest people in the Middle Eastern region, having lost their homes and land as a result of the regime's ethnic cleansing project in Khuzestan.