Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel has made a major gaffe in his accusation that the "enemies of Islam" are attempting to set Shi'ites and Sunnis against each other in Ahwaz.
According to the official Fars News Agency, Haddad Adel said: "Enemies of Islam intend to exercise the same policy and sow discord between the Shiites and Sunnites in a number of border provinces, such as Sistan and Balouchestan, Khuzestan, Kurdistan, etc. in a bid to hinder materialization of the goals of the Islamic Revolution and prevent our revolution from setting a paradigm for other countries." (click here to read report)
Khuzestan province has seen an upsurge in unrest over the past 18 months, with the local Arab population rebelling against racial discrimination, land confiscation programmes and political oppression.
Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "Haddad Adel's comments are sheer nonsense. He is deliberately trying to misrepresent the Ahwazi uprising as evidence of foreign attempts to divide Shia and Sunni. Up to 70 per cent of Khuzestan's population is Arab, but 80 per cent of Arabs are Shi'ite. Arab protestors have used Islamic festivals to launch mass demonstrations against the regime, but their campaign is not against Shi'ism but against the regime's anti-Arab racism. Haddad Adel is inventing conspiracy theories for the regime's ignorant sympathisers abroad, but anyone with any understanding on this region knows that there is not one hint of religious communalism in the uprising nor is any foreign government involved in instigating the rebellion."