British Foreign Minister Kim Howells has expressed "deep concern" about Iran's execution of Ahwazi Arabs and has pledged to take "all available opportunities to make clear to the Iranian authorities our concerns about minority rights in Iran."
Writing to the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) in response to a joint appeal by Ahwazi groups to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr Howells recognised that religious and ethnic minorities in Iran continued to face "intimidation and discrimination" by the regime. The minister, who has responsibility for British relations with the Middle East, highlighted British attempts to try to halt the execution of Ahwazi Arab activists. He also supported EU and UN General Assembly condemnation of human rights violations against minorities, including Arabs, Kurds, Balochis, Christians, Jews and Sunni Muslims.
The joint appeal by Ahwazi groups was made in April on the second anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada and was signed by the Ahwazi Community in the UK, Ahwazi Arab People's Democratic Popular Front, the Ahwazi Women's Centre, the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation, the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz and the National United Movement of Al-Ahwaz. Activists handed in their petition to the Prime Minister's residence during a demonstration outside Downing Street in Westminster, which was supported by leading British human rights activist Peter Tatchell (pictured). Click here to read the appeal.