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Iran's minorities protest at Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial and anti-Israel stance

A front representing Iran's ethnic minority parties has condemned the Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's position on the Nazi Holocaust and the destruction of Israel.

The Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI), which includes parties representing Iranian Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, Azeri Turks and Turkmen, condemned the regime's manipulation of the Palestinian issue for its own political ends.

In the statement, the Congress argued that "the Iranian regime's internal and external policies are based on creating tension and confrontation, both inside and outside Iran. By taking an irresponsible position, President Ahmadinejad is trying to deflect public attention in Iran away from domestic economical, political and social crises. The government's foreign policy aims to position Iran as the sole defender of Palestinian people's right by allying with extremist groups to create tension in the Middle East and ultimately derail the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. While the Palestinians and Israelis are seeking a permanent solution to their problems despite the Iranian regime's intervention, Iran's own minorities are denied the right to voice their demands.

"While we condemn the Iranian government regarding Holocaust and the destruction of Israel, we appeal to all democratic forces and human rights organisations to support the oppressed Iranian nationalities (that comprise 2/3 of the population) towards the establishment of a secular, democratic and a federal state in Iran."

The group, which includes the Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz (DSPA), drew parallels between the plight of the Palestinians and Iran's ethnic minorities. They pointed out that their appeals for human rights, freedom of speech and democracy has led to "gross human rights violations by the Iranian security forces and intelligence agencies. Arrests, kidnappings, illegal detention and the extra-judicial killing of political, cultural and social activists are routine in Iran. The Iranian constitution sets in stone the systematic social, ethnic and cultural discrimination against ethnic minority groups."

The CNFI's statement was signed by the Azerbaijan Cultural Society, Balochistan National Movement - Iran, Balochistan Peoples Party, Balochistan United Front of Iran, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz, Komela and the Organization for Defence of the Rights of of Turkmen People.