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Iran: Executions of 11 Ahwazis Delayed

Iran appears to have delayed the execution of 11 Ahwazi Arabs, whose forced confessions were shown on Khuzestan TV last week.

The 11 men are:
1. Ali Mutairi from Mashour (Mahshahr)
2. Khalaf Khazeiri from Falahiyah (Shadegan)
3. Mohamad Chaab Pour from Tostar (Shoushtar)
4. Abdullah Farajulaah Chab from Tostar (Shoushtar)
5. Abdullah Solimani from Tostar (Shoushtar)
6. Majed Albu Ghubaish from Mashour (Mahshahr)
7. Ali Reza Asakre from Falahiyah (Shadegan)
8. Ghasem Salamat from Ahwaz City
9. Abdul Reza Sanawati from Ahwaz City
10. Saeed Hemidan from Khalafiyah (Ramshir)
11. Malek Banitamim from Tostar (Shoushtar)

They were all convicted of threatening national security and "waging war on God" after one-day closed trials in which they had little or no access to lawyers. They are widely believed to have been framed for bomb attacks on oil pipelines in 2005 - had been in prison since 2000 - which the regime has blamed on the obscure dissident group, the Mohi-eldain Al-Nasir Martyrs Brigade.

The executions were due to take place on 14 November, but foreign governments have lobbied intensively to save the men's lives. On 16 November, the European Parliament voted unanimously to condemn the executions and on 21 November the UN General Assembly condemned Iran's justice system and the continued persecution of ethnic minority groups (click here for details).

The delay in executions is unofficial and the death sentences have not been commuted. It is thought that the executions will be carried out after Bashar Assad's visit to Tehran this weekend, in order to prevent embarrassment for the Syrian leader whose Ba'athist government was founded on the principles of pan-Arab unity.

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