Iran's persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority are being subjected to an ethnic cleansing programme in their homeland, Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan), with their lands confiscated to build racially exclusive settlements such as the Persian township of Sharinshahr.
The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has found that many of those who object to forcible relocation have 'disappeared' or have been executed, with hundreds of Ahwazis dumped in mass graves. BAFS has published photographic proof of shallow graves where Ahwazis have been buried in a place the government calls "Lanat Abad", the place of the "damned people". The bodies do not stay long in the unmarked graves, before they are dug up and eaten by dogs (click on image for larger size).
Around 160 Ahwazi Arabs were killed in the Ahwazi intifada (uprising) in April 2005 when the regime lost control over large parts of Khuzestan, but more have been murdered, incarcerated and 'disappeared' as unrest has continued.
They include Seyed Sultan Albu-Shokeh, a 45 year old disabled farmer from Falahya (Shadegan) (click here for more information):
Mehdi Nawaseri, who was hung after being forced to confess on Khuzestan TV to being a terrorist:
Muhammed-Ali Afrawi, who was also hung alongside Mehdi after a television "confession" - his sister was murdered by the security forces the following day and his father, a leading psychologist at Chamram Hospital, is now on death row:
Click here for more information on the execution of Mehdi and Ali.
Kamal Daghaghleh, who was shot dead by the security forces in a demonstration in Ahwaz's Hey Althowra district which followed the executions (click here for more information):
A number of bodies showing signs of torture have been found up washed up on the shores of the Karoon River, which flows through Ahwaz City, or found in fishing nets (click here for more information):
Meanwhile, the wives and young children of Ahwazi activists campaigning to stop the killings and land confiscations have been held hostage by the regime. They include the world's youngest political prisoner, Baby Salma, the daughter of Fahima Ismail Badawi (pictured below) and moderate opposition leader Ali Madouri-Zadeh:
Other minorities are also suffering violent persecution, notably the Balochis. The Iranian military is using helicopter gun ships and air strikes to kill innocent Balochis in their homeland, which straddles the Iran-Pakistan border (click here for the Balochistan Peoples Party website):
BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "Despite high profile appeals by European politicians and human rights activists, the European Union and the British government have ignored Ahwazi appeals for the issue of ethnic cleansing to be addressed at an international level.
"Meanwhile, Chinese, Indian and European firms are profiting from the genocidal policies of the Iranian regime, with the full support of their governments. Companies such as Britain's Costain Group (click here for more information on Costain) are investing large sums on money in industries that exploit natural resources extracted from land forcibly taken from Ahwazis. The Ahwazis themselves are rewarded with mass unemployment, poverty, disease and anonymous mass graves - none of the revenue generated from the oil-rich lands stolen from the Ahwazis is redistributed.
"Last year, the Costain Group won a US$1.6 billion deal to construct the Bid Boland 2 gas treatment facility for the National Iranian Gas Company near Behbahan City, a facility that relies on state terror to maintain Costain profits. The deal was assisted with the support of the UK's ambassador to Tehran, Richard Dalton (click here for details).
"We want to ask Prime Minister Tony Blair how his government's assistance in the pillaging of Al-Ahwaz and the terrorising of the Ahwazi Arabs is in any way conducive to the creation of a stable and democratic Middle East? Why are the killings in Ahwaz less important than the killings in Halabja?"