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Balochis condemn Iranian regime's ethnic oppression

The Balochistan People's Party (BPP) has denounced a "frightening campaign of terrorizing by the new Iranian government" in a resolution passed at a party conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

The moderate Balochi opposition party declared that "Iran is a multinational state where the nations of Arabs, Balochs, Fars, Kurds, Turks, and Turkmen are living.

"Unfortunately there is only one nation within this geographical entity called Iran namely Fars or Persian dominates all aspects of its collective life. We know in any multinational state when the political, economical, cultural, and militarily components are systematically controlled by just one nation, consequently the others within that entity are inferior. Sadly, this is the case for Arabs, Balochs, Kurds, Turks, and Turkmen in Iran.

"The previous monarchist regime and the current theological government follow their system of chauvinistic policies by discriminating their own citizens for the reason that they have distinct language, culture, religion and background."

The party claims that the changing situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, where formerly persecuted ethnic and religious groups have won the right to self-determination, has prompted the current wave of state terrorism, land confiscation, imprisonment and murder against Iran's minorities. The election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has intensified the regime's ethnic chauvinism, "accompanied by a dramatic increase in the repression of all Iranian citizens, and in particular that of ethnic origin."

The BPP pointed to recent atrocities against Balochis as evidence of a wider campaign against minorities in Iran. In July, government forces destroyed thousand of Baloch people's homes in an area covering many kilometers in Chahbhar a port city in Balochistan. The demolitions were carried out to make way for a new base and residential area for Iranian security forces, but the regime refused to compensate or provide alternative housing for impoverished Balochi families affected by the policy.

In July 2005, Iranian paramilitary forces attacked the township of Nosraat Abaad - near Dozaap (Zahidan), the provincial capital of Balochistan - in order to arrest a man identified as Dorra Shabaksh. When the paramilitaries failed to arrest the man, they took revenge on the local population, resulting in killing of harmless Baloch women and children.

In August 2005, helicopter gunships attacked the village of Yakoob Bazaar in the Bahoo Klaat area of Balochistan. The regime had accused the villagers of assisting Balochi rebel fighters in the abduction of two Iranian soldiers. In September, Houshang Baameri, an ethnic Balochi, was executed in the city of Pahrah after the regime accused him of killing two Iranian paramilitaries.

The BPP criticised Ahmadinejad's appointment of Shia extremist and Farsi supremacist Habibulah Dahmarde as provincial governor of Balochistan, where much of the population is Sunni. The appointment led to the resignation of two Balochi members of the Majlis (parliament), Paymaan Frozesh and Gol Mohammed Baamari.

The BPP also highlighted the plight of the Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan, who are being subjected to a campaign of forced migration as a result of the regime's ethnic restructuring policies in the province. The recent violent suppression of Iranian Kurds demonstrating peacefully against the killings of Kurdish opposition activists by state agents was also condemned by the BPP.

Nasser Ban-Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "We stand in solidarity with the Balochis, who are being brutally oppressed by the Iranian regime. We call on the international community to act against state terror and ethnic oppression in Iran, just as it acted against the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Iran's non-Farsi ethnic minorities - who represent around half the Iranian population - are united in their desire to see an end to this violent and oppressive regime and the creation of a multi-ethnic, democratic, federal and secular state."