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British training Ahwazi militants in Jordan, claims Iran

British training Ahwazi militants in Jordan, claims Iran

The Iranian regime's new English language television station, Press TV, has broadcast claims that the British government is providing military training for Ahwazi militants in Jordan (click for details).

The television channel launched this month claims that "anti-Iranian forces" have been receiving training at a British army base near the Iraqi border since March 2007. It alleges that "retired Jordanian officers" are involved in the training.

It adds: "The large volume of personnel presently housed in the camp indicates that long-term plans are being orchestrated against the Iranian national security particularly in southern areas such as Khuzestan province."

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "The claims of British training for militants is not new, but this is one of the craziest allegations made by the Iranian government. If these claims were true, the regime would have evidence and would be making a great deal about it at the United Nations. Ahwazis have not received any such training from Britain, but there are people gullible enough to believe this propaganda.

"We caution people to read between the lines. The Jordanians are attempting to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which is a direct threat to Iran's Hamas allies. So the Iranian regime is smearing Jordan by blaming it for unrest in Ahwaz.

"Previously, Iran has blamed Canada for unrest among Ahwazis when the Canadian government placed pressure on the regime over the arrest, torture, rape and murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi while she was in Iranian custody.

"Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda, Baathists, Wahhabists, Shell Oil and Satanists have also been blamed for Ahwazi unrest in order to portray Arabs as a fifth column in Iranian society. These conspiracies do not exist. They are the products of the colourful imagination of Iranian propagandists who are playing on feelings of insecurity in the Middle East and are rallying nationalist sentiment at home."
Bahrainis call for "liberation of Ahwaz" from Iran

Bahrainis call for "liberation of Ahwaz" from Iran

Bahrainis protesting against Iran's call for their island to become an Iranian province chanted slogans calling for the "liberation of Ahwaz" from Iranian occupation.

Protests erupted after Hussain Shariatmadari, an aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed that Bahrainis wanted the "reunification" of Bahrain with its "motherland", Iran. Writing in an Iranian newspaper, Shariatmadari also alleged that Bahrain was separated from Iran on the basis of an agreement signed by the former Shah and the US and British governments.

Bahraini protestors stated that Bahrain has always been Arab. They also accused Iran of illegal occupation of Ahwazi Arab land. Bahrain's Shura Council has also condemned Shariatmadari's comments.

The controversial statements by the presidential aide come weeks after former Iranian Consul General in to Dubai, Adel Assadinia, revealed that the regime had set up sleeper cells in Arab countries in the Gulf. Although Dubai is the principal base of Iranian intelligence operations in the Gulf, Iran has recruited extremists within the Bahraini Shi'ite population. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, he said: "The Iranian government believes that to survive it needs permanent bases throughout the Middle East. Anybody who contemplates threatening or invading Iran will have those cells unleashed against them."
Ahwazis at parliamentary human rights hearing

Ahwazis at parliamentary human rights hearing

"Western governments say they support democracy in the Middle East, but none have given any support either in word or deed to the Ahwazi people in their struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights," said British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) activist and researcher, Ali Bani Torfi, at a hearing on Iran by the Conservative Human Rights Commission.

The hearing also took evidence from representatives of Kurdish and Bahai human rights organisations as well as Amnesty International. The Commission was established in 2005 by the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and is chaired by Stephen Crabb MP. It also includes several Members of Parliament, some of whom were present to hear evidence from BAFS on the persecution of Ahwazi Arabs, whose homeland has been occupied and ruled from Tehran since 1925.

In his address, Mr Bani Torfi compared the treatment of Ahwazi Arabs to apartheid in South Africa, with segregation in housing, employment and education enforced by extreme state violence. He said: "Successive Iranian regimes have denied Ahwazi rights as a people and have tried to ignore the existence of the Ahwazi Arab nation, calling them 'Arab-speakers' rather than Arabs denying their ethnicity due to their policy of Persianisation. This policy has involved government confiscation of Arab-owned land and 'ethnic restructuring', which typically involves the forced migration of Arabs out of Al-Ahwaz and their replacement with 'loyal' ethnic groups, particularly ethnic Persians.

"While UN agencies and leading human rights groups have catalogued the large number atrocities against the Ahwazi people – ranging from the land confiscation programme to the illegal killings and the incarceration of children – not a single democratic government has lifted a finger to address the issue of Ahwazi rights ... It is time for a change in attitudes. It is time to listen to the voice of the Ahwazis."