Ahwazi Arab activists are warning of a potential massacre in Ahwaz as the Iranian regime prepares to execute up to seven Arabs in its campaign to stop anti-government unrest in the region in the southwest of Iran.
The Governor of Khuzestan has promised more "trials" and executions of Ahwazis, according to IRNA, an Iranian government news agency.
The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has received a list of seven Ahwazis currently in custody who are likely to be executed by the regime in the immediate future:
Ali Matouri Zadeh
Abdullah Abdulhousain Salman
Abdulamir Farajulla Chaab
Mohammad Chaab Pour
Ali Matouri Zadeh's wife, Fahima Ismail Badawi, is also in custody. In March, she gave birth to a baby girl Salma in prison. At just under eight weeks old, Salma is the world's youngest political prisoner (click here for more information).
Ahwaz previously witnessed a wave of executions in March, including the public hangings of Ali Afrawi and Mehdi Nawaseri following show trials over recent bomb attacks in the city (click here for report). The executions were broadcast around the world, including a special report on human rights in Iran by the UK's Channel 4 News. The trials, televised "confessions" and executions were condemned by Amnesty International, the world's leading human rights organisation.
Ahwaz is a focus of anti-government anger, with Ahwazi Arabs enraged by ongoing persecution, land confiscation, poverty and state terrorism. Unrest began in April 2005 after revelations that the government had a 10-year plan to reduce the Arab proportion of the province's population from 70 per cent to 30 per cent, contained in a leaked secret letter by former Vice-President Ali Abtahi (click here to download). Thousands have been arrested and scores killed since the uprising began.
Ahwazi activists have written to the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) fearing a "big massacre in Ahwaz" and calling on the "international community to take a stand against this crime against humanity."