President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has revealed his brutal policies to suppress dissent after a week of unrest in Khuzestan, the heart of the Ahwazi Arab homeland.
On Monday, reports from Ahwaz revealed that the burnt remains of demonstrators arrested earlier in September had been dumped outside relatives' homes. The anti-government demonstrations that followed saw security forces fire on a protestings, killing at least two protestors and injuring several others.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has drawn attention to the detention of two Ahwazi teachers and a newspaper editor, who are being held incommunicado at unknown locations and are reportedly at risk of torture or ill-treatment. The three are not known to have been charged with any offence. Amnesty states that in the past few weeks around 250 Ahwazis have been arrested, including "prominent journalists, lawyers, tribal leaders, students and human rights activists." [Click here for the full report]
State violence against Ahwazi Arabs has intensified since Ahmadinejad's inauguration. He has begun mobilising the Basij, a paramilitary group loyal to the religious elite that was involved in intimidating voters during the presidential election campaign. The Basij's riot control capabilities have been bolstered, with units participating in urban defence exercises in Ahwaz City in late September. It is widely believed that these units will be used to suppress internal dissent in provinces such as Khuzestan.