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Amid Increased International Tension UNPO Highlights Oppression of Minorities in Iran

On Saturday 14 January at the Ahwazi Culture House in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ahwazi representatives from all over Scandinavia gathered on the occasion of Eid-al-Adha. In addition to marking the major Muslim feast, the event was held to discuss various current issues affecting the Ahwazi Arab people.

The Ahwazis have been a UNPO Member since 2003, and on this occasion Mr. Goran Hansson, Chairman of the UNPO General Assembly, attended the event and gave a presentation on the organisation's behalf.

Whilst world attention currently centres on Iran's nuclear ambitions, with remaining tools of diplomacy to 'solve' the issue being explored, the situation for minorities in the republic continues to warrant increasing concern. UNPO highlights the need for the realization of democracy and human rights in Iran and is particularly alarmed by the continuing systematic social, ethnic and cultural discrimination against various ethnic minority groups in the region. UNPO further recognizes the exploration of initiatives to advance a genuine process of democratization in Iran as crucial.

Recent reports on the situation for the Ahwazi minority indicates a growing clamp down on symbols of Arab identity and violent crack-down of peaceful protests. Several voices of other minorities in Iran are expressing growing criticism and condemnation of the regime's internal, as well as external, policies. Some claim President Ahmadinejad is conducting an exercise in deflecting public attention in Iran away from domestic crises to strengthen his national power base.

Meanwhile, as international tension and confrontation is on the rise, UNPO calls upon democratic leaders, institutions and organizations to support initiatives to find peaceful solutions for the many oppressed minority groups in Iran, towards the establishment of a democratic and stable Iran, in which the human rights of all minority groups are respected.

UNPO press release