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Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

Ahwazi Support for Iranian AIDS doctors

Ahwazi Support for Iranian AIDS doctors

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has backed the international campaign to free Kamiar and Arash Alaei, two Iranian doctors who are world-famous for their work on HIV/AIDS.

Ahwazi Arabs are affected by above-average HIV infection rates due to a high level of intravenous drugs use. Drug addiction is a problem among Ahwazi Arab youths due to high levels of deprivation, which has meant many have sought relief in illicit substance abuse. An international heroin smuggling route passes through their traditional homeland, with drugs trafficked from Afghanistan to the West. As a consequence, shared needles have helped spread HIV/AIDS within this ethnic group

In June, the doctors, who are brothers, were detained without charge by Iranian security forces and are being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. To date, no formal charges have been filed.

Doctor Arash Alaei and Doctor Kamiar Alaei have played a role in putting the issues of drug use and HIV/AIDS on Iran's national health care agenda. They have worked closely with government and religious leaders to ensure support for education campaigns on HIV transmission, including those targeting youth, and for HIV and harm reduction programmes in prisons.

Since completing their medical training, the brothers have worked in AIDS research in Iran, and along with other clinicians and advocates, helped make the country a leader in prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. They played a part in the creation of Iran's HIV/AIDS prison programme, one of the best in the region if not the world. The programme passes out condoms and syringes in the prisons, one of only a handful of countries globally doing so. The doctors have also shared their knowledge with neighboring countries by holding training workshops for Afghan and Tajik health professionals.

BAFS supports the efforts of these doctors in combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS and regards their programmes as essential to the welfare of Ahwazi Arabs and all Iranians.

Supporters are being asked to take a picture of video of themselves holding a sign saying "Treating AIDS is not a crime". The photos and videos should be uploaded to the internet or can be sent to contact(at)ahwaz.org.uk and published alongside other messages of support.

Supporters of the Alaei brothers should also submit protests to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations:
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 687-2020 Telefax: (212) 867-7086
E-mail: iran@un.int

For more information:
Iran, Free Doctors Arash and Kamiar Alaei
Upload your photos to: http://drop.io/iranfreethedocs
Iran Health Minister Refuses Ahwazi Water

Iran Health Minister Refuses Ahwazi Water

Iran's Minister of Health refused a glass of Ahwazi water, claiming it to be unfit for human consumption.

Minister of Health Kamran Bagheri Lankarani was visiting Ahwaz City's Jondi Shapour (medical faculty) during the Student's Day commemorations when he refused an offer of tap water from the students. According to the Salamat News Agency, he said: "We accept that the water in Khuzestan is very dirty and impure and we have reported the issue to the Ministry of Energy."

The indigenous Ahwazi Arab population has complained of poor water quality for years, but nothing has been done to improve the situation. At times, the regime has cut drinking water to villages in the region to collectively punish the restive Arab population.

Ahwazi Arabs have complained that the region's rivers are being contaminated with industrial pollution and sewerage, which is undermining both their health and their livelihoods.

Iran Condemns Sweden for Supporting "Separatism"

Iran Condemns Sweden for Supporting "Separatism"

The Tabnak website, which is owned by the Secretary of Iran's powerful Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaee, has condemned the Swedish Green Party for recently hosting a conference on ethnic rights at the Swedish parliament.

The conference was addressed by Ahwazi Arab Farid Morshedi, a member of the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz who won political asylum in Sweden following a campaign by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society and other advocacy groups. Other participants included the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Komeleh, Azerbaijan Democratic Party, Balochistan National Party and the National Movement for Balochistan. The sons of an Ahwazi Arab tribal leader, Imad and Mohsen Bawi, who were the subject of intensive campaigns by Amnesty International, also addressed the meeting, just weeks after they escaped from prison in Iran with the assistance of the members of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation and the DSPA. They spoke of the execution of their brother Zamel Bawi on trumped up charges of insurgency and "war against God" as well as their ordeal in as political prisoners. Conference participants from Iran's ethnic parties spoke of their support for federalism to resolve long-standing disputes while maintaining the country's territorial integrity.

The Tabnak website claimed that the participating parties had been declared illegal by the Islamic Republic and accused the Swedish Parliament of interfering in Iran's internal affairs. It claimed that the participants advocated the dismantling of Iran in the way the Soviet Union was dismantled. It accused the Swedish Green Party of supporting separatism and devoting large sums of money with a view to destroying Iran.

Participants told the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) that all the representatives present had in fact stated that federalism, as opposed to separatism, would ensure security and stability for Iran and neighbouring countries. The chair of the meeting, a member of the Swedish Green Party, voiced his full support for the programme of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran, particularly its programme of non-violent resistance, and the realisation of ethno-national collective rights in a federal system of government.

Green parties in Europe have in the past condemned any military action in Iran and voted against European Parliamentary resolutions on Iran claiming that they could provide a pretext for war.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "The Green movement is highly unlikely to endorse any programme that would entail the destruction of Iran or the country's invasion.

"In contrast to the Islamic Republic, the Greens support the localisation of power, indigenous rights, self-determination and environmental sustainability. These are issues that are close to the heart of Ahwazi Arabs and many other groups in Iran.

"It is clear that Iranian officials are trying to twist the argument and generate distrust among the Greens towards Iran's ethnic rights movement. However, our past involvement with the Greens shows that they will not bow to pressure from Tehran and recognise that there is an overwhelming case to oppose the Iranian regime that does not entail endorsing Washington's agenda.

"Our strongest supporters include English Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP and the Green Party human rights spokesman Peter Tatchell. We are in no doubt that they will not be swayed by Tehran's baseless accusations."
Ahwazi political prisoner punished for prayer protest

Ahwazi political prisoner punished for prayer protest

Jailed Ahwazi Arab journalist Hassan Fallahiya has been punished by prison authorities for refusing to participate in Friday prayers.

Fallahiya is currently being held in Section 350 of Evin Prison which is notorious for torturing political prisoners. His family have been refused permission to visit him in prison due to his disobedience, reported the Human Rights Activists in Iran group quoting prison director Bozorg Nia.

The journalist has worked for Iran's Arabic language television station Al-Alam as well as Lebanon's Al Mustaqbal newspaper. Amnesty International has declared him a prisoner of conscience. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment in April 2006 over his work as managing editor of the now-banned Aqlam al-Talaba (The Students' Pens) publication, which was issued by Ahwaz University students.

Despite concerns for his health, Fallahiya has been defiant while in custody. He has written as series of appeals to the United Nations and the European Union for assistance as well as highlighting the persecution of Ahwazi Arabs. In a letter to EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana that was smuggled out of prison, he described his homeland as a prison and demanded support for Ahwazi Arabs' "legitimate national rights which are enshrined in international law."
Ahwazis in appeal to Swedish Parliament

Ahwazis in appeal to Swedish Parliament

Ahwazi Arabs joined other non-Persian ethnic groups in an appeal to the Swedish Parliament for solidarity with non-violent resistance to the regime in Tehran.

In a seminar in the parliament building, supported by most of the country's political parties and non-governmental human rights organisations including Amnesty International, ethnic groups called for support for their demands for collective rights and federalism. Non-Persian groups were represented by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Komeleh, Azerbaijan Democratic Party, Balochistan National Party, National Movement for Balochistan and the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA).

Ahwazi Arabs were represented by Farid Morshedi, who won political asylum in Sweden following a campaign by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society and other advocacy groups. He said: "We believe that only through a federal Iran will ethnic groups secure their fundamental rights."

Brothers Imad and Mohsen Bawi, who were the subject of intensive campaigns by Amnesty International, also addressed the meeting, just weeks after they escaped from prison in Iran with the assistance of the members of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation and the DSPA. They spoke of the execution of their brother Zamel Bawi on trumped up charges of insurgency and "war against God" as well as their ordeal in as political prisoners.

All the representatives present stated that federalism, as opposed to separatism, would ensure security and stability for Iran and neighbouring countries. The chair of the meeting, a member of the Swedish Green Party, voiced his full support for the programme of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran, particularly its programme of non-violent resistance, and the realisation of ethno-national collective rights in a federal system of government.

Bakhtiari voice in Brussels: "Stop Iran's Ethnic Cleansing"

The culture of the traditionally tribal Bakhtiari and Luri people is being eradicated through Persianisation, poverty and despotism, said Faramarz Bakhtiar at a human rights conference in Brussels this month.

Mr Bakhtiar of the Lorestan and Bakhtiaris United Party told the conference at the European Parliament that "The policy of the central government has always been anti- ethnicity; it doesn't make any difference if it is in the form of monarchy or republic. The main strategy of the central state is to annihilate the other cultures and languages and to assimilate them in to one nation, one language, and one religion."

The Lor and Bakhtiar homeland is located in western Iran, numbering 5.5 million and representing around eight per cent of the Iranian population. Lors and Bakhtiaris, who share a common culture and language, are found in the provinces of Lorestan, Khuzestan, Charmahal and Bakhtiari, Kuhgiluye and Boyrahmad and Isfahan. Around 800 years ago, the Lori established its own autonomous government in Atabakane Lorestan, which lasted for 200 years, with its own monetary and tax collection systemand trade system.

However, the tribes have suffered after Tehran imposed central control over their homeland. Like the Ahwazi Arabs who are also indigenous to Khuzestan, their homeland is oil-rich, but the revenue generated from oil reserves is not redistributed to the indigenous people, who endure some of the highest rates of unemployment, suicide, drug addiction and poverty in Iran.

Mr Bakhtiari said: "We are deprived of the very basic human needs, we don't have any local radio and television stations in our land, our children are forced to speak Farsi in the first day in the school, in our rural areas, we don't have any health care, public service, any roads, educational institutes, welfare, sanitation, water pop line, fuel system, and so many other necessities of life."

Only federalism could ensure genuine national unity in a country that is composed of minorities, which are themselves majorities in the regions they inhabit, according to Mr Bakhtiar.

He said: "In 1911 we had the constitutional revolution, in order to establish a nation-state and a modern democratic Iran, by establishing the local parliaments in different provinces, which was a sort of traditional federalism, but by interference of the colonial powers of the time, this effort failed and ever since the central despotism has been the prevailing course in political scene , our ethnic-national identity and existence has been denied by central governments, which is the obvious violation of the human rights, in this vacuum of identity crisis, our identity has been replaced by a false religious identity of either Sunnite or Shiite.

"The sovereignty of one nationality over the others in a multinational land, leads to apartheid, racism, discrimination, and monopoly of the power and the resources. The best way to practice democracy in Iran is by establishing a federal structure, in which, all of the nationalities enjoy the political participation, self determination, and national identity."

Mr Bakhtiar concluded by saying that if the "pressure becomes unbearable on the nationalities of Iran" they will seek separation from Iran, leading to civil war. Only by devolving power and allowing self-determination within a federal structure will Iran become a stable democracy, he said.
Iran fails to stop UN condemnation

Iran fails to stop UN condemnation

The Iranian regime failed to stop a draft UN General Assembly resolution condemning its human rights violations, including discrimination against ethnic minorities.

Iran's bid to halt action on the resolution in the assembly's third committee - meaning it would have been shelved - was defeated by 81 votes to 71. A similar move on a similar resolution last year was stopped by just one vote, according to the Reuters news agency.

The resolution against Iran was passed by 70 votes to 51 and will go to full General Assembly in December, where it is expected to be adopted. The Canada-sponsored non-binding resolution expresses "deep concern at serious human rights violations" in Iran, including "Increasing discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities, recognized or otherwise, including, inter alia, Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis and Sunni Muslims and their defenders, and, in particular, attacks on Baha’is and their faith in State-sponsored media."

The resolution calls upon Iran to "eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities."

In a statement, Mohammad Mir Ali Mohammadi of the Iranian UN Mission said: "This is a political motivated resolution, lacks the minimum legitimacy and is an obtrusive example of selectivity and double standard. It contains a number of falsified and unsubstantiated elements that contradict the realities of human rights situation in Iran."
Ahwazi plight highlighted at EU Parliament conference

Ahwazi plight highlighted at EU Parliament conference

Environmental degradation and forced displacement in the Ahwazi Arab homeland is as catastrophic as the Niger Delta, said the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) at a recent human rights conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.

UNPO spokesman Andrew Swan told the conference that "the appropriation of land, spillage of oil and harmful chemicals into soil and groundwater, and air borne pollutants from gas flaring all negate the quality of life in these areas and destroy agricultural communities."

He highlighted the lack of compensation for those affected by environmental damage, which, when awarded, "is no substitute for a regular means of income."

He added: "There are still families waiting for their homes to be rebuild in the wake of the Iran-Iraq War ... As a result the lack of respected familial role models and job opportunities for youth in the skilled and low volume hydrocarbon industry is fuelling disaffection and resentment."

The root problems, he explained, lay in the "longstanding policy of 'Persianisation', matched by likely falsification of census records" which have been used "to muddy ethnic identities and disenfranchise Iran's sizeable minorities. This has affected all of UNPO's members in the area, from the Ahwazi to the Azeris."

He added that Ahwazis had a right to self-determination, as set down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the right to "freely dispose of their natural wealth."

In his concluding remarks, Mr Swan called for greater unity within the opposition to the Iranian regime: "Unifying with other actors within Iran, such as Persian groups calling for women's rights, press freedom, and such like, strengthens any campaign, discrediting state messages portraying those calling for greater regional rights as 'separatist' and demonstrate an outlook that is open and collegial. It carries risks for both sides undoubtedly, but it is important to raise the situation that liberal Persians face on a daily basis. This conference is examining the rights of all Iran's people, Persians included, and there are many common causes to be found.

"I also believe that UNPO has proven its worth in helping its members to look beyond their immediate region to those with similar experiences elsewhere ... This of course also provides an opportunity to inform Iranians of their own compatriots - if not changing positions then at least raising the standard of debate and exposing Tehran's intractability. Such approaches can bring the questions of tolerance, human rights, and democracy to a human level - avoiding the simplistic accusations of separatism and subversion which are the mainstay of Tehran's verbal attacks on its critics."

Iran: Greens change vote after Ahwazi appeals

The UK's two Green MEPs have withdrawn their vote against the European Parliament's resolution on Iran following an appeal by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS).

The resolution covered a range of issues, including human rights and Iran's nuclear programme. It protested "vehemently against the execution in Iran on 30 January 2008 at 4 am local time of the Ahwazi activist Zamel Bawi, the 19th Ahwazi activist executed in the last twelve months, and urges the Iranian government to desist from executing the Dutch citizen and human-rights activist Faleh Abdulah al-Mansouri and the UNHCR-registered refugees Rasoul Ali Mazrea and Said Saki, whose resettlement to Norway has been secured, as well as to allow them to proceed to their countries of citizenship or refuge."

Ms Lambert reiterated her opposition to the death penalty and the abuse of human rights suffered by ethnic minorities, adding "In the case of Iran I have previously explicitly raised the issue of Ahwazi Arabs facing execution, writing to both the Iranian authorities and the EU President, where I have called for fair trials to international standards and for death sentences to be commuted."

The decision to vote against the EP resolution was due to "the resolution's exaggerated international threat of Iran as the basis for sanctions, given that the US security agencies report stated that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 ... We also took issue with the resolution's demand for Iran to stop enrichment before negotiations can start with the EU and US. The Nuclear Proliferation Treaty does not require such a precondition, and the Greens feel that this demand will not help in the objective of reducing international nuclear proliferation."

However, both MEPs subsequently amended their votes to an abstention, to reflect the Greens' concern over Iran's human rights abuses. Ms Lambert stressed that the Green group's proposed resolution, which was rejected by the European Parliament, also condemned the execution of Ahwazi political activists.

She added that the Greens would "continue to work for the respect of Ahwazi human rights and to oppose death penalty, unfair trials and abuse of minority rights - both in the case of Iran and internationally. To that end Caroline Lucas and I will be writing to the Iranian authorities in accordance with the concerns of Amnesty International regarding the execution of Zamel Bawi and the fate of his relatives." (Click here for Amnesty International's appeal)

In recent days, Tobias Pfluger, a German MEP from the United European Left group which had also voted against the EP resolution, restated his opposition to the abuse of Ahwazi Arab human rights.

The resolution was adopted last week with 559 MEPs voting in favour, 52 against and 44 abstaining. Of the MEPs present at the vote, 96% of the centre-right European Peoples Party MEPs, 97% of the Socialist MEPs and 100% of the Liberal MEPs voted in favour of the resolution. As such, the three main political groupings were near-unanimous in their condemnation of the execution of Zamel Bawi.
Bomb attack on Iran government building in Abadan

Bomb attack on Iran government building in Abadan

The Ahwazi Fatah Brigade has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on an Iranian government building in the Zulfaqari neighbourhood of Abadan, situated on the Shatt al-Arab.

The armed Arab resistance group, which is fighting against the Iranian regime, said in a statement that the building was attacked at dawn on Thursday. The building reportedly contained the offices of those involved in the acquisition of Arab land for the creation of the controversial 100 sq km Arvand Free Zone (AFZ), which stretches from Mohammareh (Khorramshahr) to Abadan. The Iranian authorities have forced the owners of palm groves and villagers to leave the land and arrested those who refused. Last month, the Iranian regime cut off drinking supplies to Arab villages in order to force them off their lands ahead of acquisition under the auspices of the AFTZ.

The Brigade said it attacked the offices at dawn in order to avoid killing innocent bystanders and claimed to have completely destroyed the building. It said it would continue to target organisations and individuals involved in the free zone. A German business delegation recently pledged US$300 million of investment in the zone with the construction of a paper mill beginning in June. The zone is highly militarised and contains Revolutionary Guards bases used to conduct operations in Iraq.

The Brigade previously claimed responsibility for a series of attacks between August and October 2007, which led to the assassination of two clerics working for the Iranian security services in the region. Former president Mohammad Khatami cancelled a visit to Ahwaz City, intended to raise funds for "reformist" candidates, following threats by the group to assassinate him.

The bomb attack in Abadan comes just days after cleric Abbas Abbasian, also a paramilitary commander, was assassinated at an Iran-Iraq War battlefield. The killing was claimed by the Ahwazi National Resistance Movement. It was the latest in a string of assassinations of Bassij officials in the area.

BAFS does not support separatism or any armed Ahwazi groups, favouring instead a broad coalition based on non-violent civil disobedience to create democratic change in Iran.
Ahwazi group claims responsibility for cleric assassination

Ahwazi group claims responsibility for cleric assassination

The Ahwazi National Resistance Movement has claimed responsibility for the recent assassination of cleric Abbas Abbasian at an Iran-Iraq War battlefield.

Abbasian was a senior cleric from Taibad in Iran's Khorasan province and a commander in the Bassij, Iran's volunteer paramilitary force.

In a declaration sent to the British Ahwazi Friendship Society and signed by "Field Commander Faisal Abda", the separatist group says that it ambushed a Bassij convoy near the Arab-majority city of Al Khafajiyah (Susangerd) with small arms and grenades. It said that the attacks were retaliation for the construction of non-Arab settlements in the area and the government's attempts to break the Arab resistance movement in the region. Abbasian was targetted as he was a representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The group affirmed its right to defend Ahwazi Arab land and "free it from the clutches of the Iranian enemy."

BAFS has no way of assessing whether the claim of responsibility is genuine or whether the group is behind similar attacks in the region. Several assassinations of Bassij commanders have taken place recently in the battlefields, which the Iranian regime has blamed on Britain. It claims that the guns used in attacks were supplied by British forces stationed in Al-Amarah in Iraq.

BAFS previously received a statement from a previously unknown Ahwazi group calling itself the Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Brigade, which claimed responsibility for an armed attack on a bus travelling along the Bostan-Howaiza road near a battlefield on 27 March. The Brigade claims that it killed four members of the Iranian security forces and injured seven, without sustaining any casualties.

The Brigade said the attack was carried out in response to the torturing and killing of Ahwazi Arabs. It pledged to strike any Iranian military or paramilitary units inside the "occupied Ahwazi territories" in response to the "unjust policies" and would continue the attacks "so long as there is even one Iranian soldier on Ahwazi soil." The armed group is named after Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the Prophet Muhammed's companions.

It is unknown whether the brigade is part of the Ahwazi National Resistance Movement, but the tactics - ambushes on Bassij officials in the Iran-Iraq War battlefields - are similar.

BAFS does not support separatism or any armed Ahwazi groups, favouring instead a broad coalition based on non-violent civil disobedience to create democratic change in Iran.
Senior Bassij-linked cleric assassinated in Iran-Iraq War battlefield

Senior Bassij-linked cleric assassinated in Iran-Iraq War battlefield

An imam jomeh (prayer leader) from Taibad in Iran's Khorasan province was assassinated while visiting the Arab-majority city of Al Khafajiyah (Susangerd) in the restive Arab-populated region in southwest Iran, according to the Tabnak news website.

Cleric Abbas Abbasian was gunned down along with a number of members of the Bassij, Iran's volunteer paramilitary militia, while visiting Iran-Iraq War battlefields in the area. As an imam jomeh, Abbasian held considerable political power in Taibad. Imam jomehs work closely with the Revolutionary Guards and answer to the Supreme Leader. Abbasian was also a commander in the Bassij, which forms part of the Revolutionary Guards.

Several assassinations of Bassij commanders have taken place recently in the battlefields, which the Iranian regime has blamed on Britain. According to Tabnak, a mobile phone containing British telephone numbers was seized in arrests that followed attacks last month. It also claims that the guns used in the attacks were supplied by British forces stationed in Al-Amarah in Iraq. The Tabnak website is affiliated to Iran's powerful Expediency Discernment Council, the consultative group chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani and appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) received a statement from an Ahwazi group named the Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Brigade which claimed responsibility for an armed attack on a bus travelling along the Bostan-Howaiza road on 27 March at 8pm. The Brigade claims that it killed four members of the Iranian security forces and injured seven, without sustaining any casualties. It says the personnel were travelling to visit an Iran-Iraq War battlefield for the Nowruz holiday. Arab children began attacking the bus convoy with stones before the armed group opened fire.

The Brigade said the attack was carried out in response to the torturing and killing of Ahwazi Arabs. It pledged to strike any Iranian military or paramilitary units inside the "occupied Ahwazi territories" in response to the "unjust policies" and would continue the attacks "so long as there is even one Iranian soldier on Ahwazi soil." The armed group is named after Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the Prophet Muhammed's companions. It is unknown whether the group is responsible for other attacks in the area, including the assassination of Abbasian.

BAFS does not support separatism or any armed Ahwazi groups, favouring instead a broad coalition based on non-violent civil disobedience to create democratic change in Iran.

Iran's "Mad Moment" Fails to Impress UN Indigenous Forum



Iran's representatives at the seventh session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) launched a bizarre attack on a delegation of Ahwazi Arab human rights activists, accusing them of responsibility for terrorism in the Middle East.

Iranian delegates banged on the table throughout a speech by a representative of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO), in a scene reminiscent of Kruschev's shoe banging incident in the UN General Assembly. The Ahwazi delegate detailed Iran's catalogue of human rights abuses against indigenous Ahwazi Arabs. Delegates representing Iran's Balochi and Kurdish populations also adressed the session.

A member of the Ahwazi Arab delegation told the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) that as soon as their presentation started "all hell broke loose." The delegation criticised Iran for failing to appoint a member of Iran's national minorities, who comprise over half Iran's population, to represent the country at the PFII. This was proof that the Iranian government "does not aknowlege or recognize the indigenous peoples" of Iran.

The Ahwazi Arab delegate drew attention to the historic marginalisation and discrimination against Ahwazi Arabs by successive governments. He said: "While Ahwazi ancestral lands produces 90% of Iran's vast oil revenue, none of this is allocated to the Ahwazis or to their region. Madam Chair: a proposed legislative bill allocating 1.5% of the oil revenue to the Khuzestan area or the indigenous Ahwazis has been defeated for the fourth year this year.

"Iran indigenous Ahwazis are kept backward, poor and illiterate. The illiteracy rate is four times and unemployment is six times the national average ... Only one out of four Ahwazis graduates from high school. According to government's own data, 80% of the Arab children suffer from malnutrition.

"In the past ten years, as directed by the highest levels of government of the Islamic republic of Iran, over 500,000 hectares of indigenous Ahwazi farmers land have been confiscated and given to non-indigenous Persian settlers, a scheme designed to break up and change the ethnic structure and racial mix of the province ...

"There is a systematic effort by the Islamic Republic of Iran to strip indigenous Arabs of Ahwaz from their national identity, culture, language, and customs and they are faced with assimilation and a lowered status to the ranks of second and third class citizens. Any Ahwazi demands for basic human rights, including education in their mother tongue, sharing of wealth and rights of employment or to protest ethnic cleansing, have often been labeled as 'separatist', 'secessionist', 'Wahabis' or called 'stooges of foreign countries' or 'danger to security and territorial integrity' ...

"In the past 12 months alone, at least 21 Ahwazi human rights and political activists were publicly hanged (three were executed just days after UN Human Rights Commissioner, Ms. Arbour, visited Tehran in September 2007) despite the appeal by the European Union Commission, international Human Rights Organization and in a blatant defiance to an appeal by the independent experts Mr. Philip Alston, Mr. Leandro Despouy, and Mr. Manfred Nowak who issued a statement urging the Iranian Government to 'stop the imminent execution of seven men belonging to the Ahwazi Arab minority and grant them a fair and public hearing.'"

The Ahwazi Arab delegation called for the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples to "organise a fact finding trip to the province of Khuzestan to investigate land confiscation, ethnic cleansing and especially the killing of 151 indigenous Ahwazi-Arabs by Iranian security forces" since the April 2005 uprising.

The Iranian delegate responded by saying: "This so-called NGO, AHRO, which is based in London is responsible for many bombings and explosions in Ahwaz. This so called NGO is secessionist and conducted the bombing in Ahwaz that killed many people."

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "The Iranian response at the PFII session was risible, yet predictable. The regime maintains anyone who supports indigenous rights in Iran is a secessionist and terrorist, without offering any supporting evidence. The fact that AHRO is based in Washington has not stopped Iran from claiming it is supported by British intelligence, which is Tehran's stock answer to any criticism of its treatment of its Arab population. Even if the delegation had sworn allegiance to the Supreme Leader, they would have been denounced as terrorists and separatists for even raising the issue of indigenous rights in Iran.

"The unruly behaviour by the Iranian delegation went down poorly in the PFII session, which is usually a sober affair. Indigenous groups from across the world saw for themselves that the Iranian delegation wanted to silence and intimidate Ahwazi Arabs by banging on tables and making wild accusations. As a result, the Ahwazi delegation was applauded and received a warm response from NGOs and representatives of foreign governments. Iran's hysterical reaction backfired badly."

Iran is represented on the UNPFII by Paimanach Hasteh, a US-educated environmental scientist who served as Director of the Department of Air Pollution Control of the Traffic Control Company in Tehran before taking up a career in the foreign ministry.

Iran: Army commander assassinated

Iran: Army commander assassinated

A senior officer in Iran's 92nd Armored Division was assassinated during a patrol near the Iran-Iraq border on 24 April, according to a government news agency.

Colonel Mortaza Ranjbar, who originates from Kazeroun in Fars Province, was gunned down while leading a team of monitors reportedly deployed to investigate Ahwazi Arab unrest. The 92nd Armored Division is the Iranian army's main tank division.

The area has seen a number of armed attacks on the security forces by militant Ahwazi Arabs. The Iranian regime has blamed Britain for recent attacks on paramilitary Bassij forces visiting Iran-Iraq War battlefields, claiming that the militants are being armed by British forces stationed in Al-Amarah in Iraq. The claims were made on the Tabnak website, which is affiliated to Iran's powerful Expediency Discernment Council, the consultative group chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani and appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The group claiming responsibility for the killing of Bassij members is the Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Brigade, which was unknown before the attacks. The Brigade claims that it killed four members of the Iranian security forces and injured seven, without sustaining any casualties. It says the personnel were travelling to visit an Iran-Iraq War battlefield for the Nowruz holiday. Arab children began attacking the bus convoy with stones before the armed group opened fire.

The Brigade said the attack was carried out in response to the torturing and killing of Ahwazi Arabs. It pledged to strike any Iranian military or paramilitary units inside the "occupied Ahwazi territories" in response to the "unjust policies" and would continue the attacks "so long as there is even one Iranian soldier on Ahwazi soil." The armed group is named after Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the Prophet Muhammed's companions.

In another development, the Iranian regime has banned Arabs serving in the army from owning mobile phones to prevent the leaking of information.

BAFS does not support separatism or any armed Ahwazi groups, favouring instead a broad coalition based on non-violent civil disobedience to create democratic change in Iran.
Germany invests in Iran's military-industrial zone

Germany invests in Iran's military-industrial zone

A delegation of German businesses may invest up to US$300 million in the controversial Arvand Free Trade Zone (AFTZ), which is being established through the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Ahwazi Arab population.

Reports in the official Iranian media suggest that US$20 million will be invested in a paper mill in the zone, with construction due to begin by June. Other industries cited as attracting German investment include the production of industrial alcohol, pharmaceuticals and edible oil.

The region has witnessed serious labour unrest as a result of unpaid wages, particularly in the sugar mill and ship-building industries. Workers have complained that they are faced with starvation due to poor labour conditions. The Iranian government and the private sector have sought to crush labour activism, using the Lebanese Hezbollah to carry out their dirty work. At the same time, the Arvand Free Trade Zone Organisation is expropriating Arab-owned land around Mohammareh (Khorramshahr) and Abadan, with thousands of villagers being made homeless. The practice has been condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari, and leading human rights groups. In the past month, the Iranian regime has cut off drinking supplies to Arab villages in order to force them off their lands ahead of acquisition under the auspices of the AFTZ.

Spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), Nasser Bani Assad, said: "German investment will help support the ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs and the crushing of the labour movement. Foreign businesses involved in the AFTZ have Ahwazi Arab blood on their hands. We will find out which German businesses are supporting the regime's racist campaign and we will name and shame them. We are prepared for a strong disinvestment campaign and we will take action at a European level.

"Volkswagen was built on Jewish slave labour. We say 'never again'. Ahwazi Arabs demand nothing less than fair compensation, labour representation, a living wage and an end to discrimination and persecution for the sake of the profits of the hated mullahs and their foreign backers. The Germans have forgotten the lessons of their country's bloody past."
Iran accuses Britain for attacks on Bassij

Iran accuses Britain for attacks on Bassij

The Iranian regime has blamed Britain for recent attacks on its paramilitary Bassij forces visiting Iran-Iraq War battlefields (click here for article).

The Tabnak website's "proof" rests on a UK telephone number found on a mobile phone seized by the security forces in arrests that followed the attacks, which led to several Bassij deaths. It also claims that the guns used in the attacks were supplied by British forces stationed in Al-Amarah in Iraq. It said the first attack on the Bassij was carried out by domestic groups, but the second attack involved foreigners.

The Tabnak website is affiliated to Iran's powerful Expediency Discernment Council, the consultative group chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani and appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) received a statement from an Ahwazi group named the Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Brigade which claimed responsibility for an armed attack on a bus travelling along the Bostan-Howaiza road on 27 March at 8pm. The message was passed on by the Ahwaz Liberation Organisation (ALO), whose leader Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri, a Dutch citizen, is currently being held in prison in Iran following his abduction from Syria in May 2006. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for on the Iranian regime not to execute al-Mansouri. BAFS has no links to the ALO or the Brigade claiming responsibility for the attacks.

The Brigade claims that it killed four members of the Iranian security forces and injured seven, without sustaining any casualties. It says the personnel were travelling to visit an Iran-Iraq War battlefield for the Nowruz holiday. Arab children began attacking the bus convoy with stones before the armed group opened fire.

The Brigade said the attack was carried out in response to the torturing and killing of Ahwazi Arabs. It pledged to strike any Iranian military or paramilitary units inside the "occupied Ahwazi territories" in response to the "unjust policies" and would continue the attacks "so long as there is even one Iranian soldier on Ahwazi soil." The armed group is named after Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the Prophet Muhammed's companions.
Ahwazis at Downing Street

Ahwazis at Downing Street

Ahwazi Arab representatives will visit 10 Downing Street on 21 April to urge the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to prioritise Ahwazi Arab rights in all bipartisan talks with Iran and at a European level. They will provide the Prime Minister with details of the latest atrocities against Ahwazi Arabs, including the recent halt in drinking water supplies to Arab villages along the Shatt al-Arab.

The Downing Street visit marks the conclusion of a series of events held in London in April to mark both the third anniversary of the peaceful Ahwazi uprising, in which over 160 Arabs were killed by security forces, as well as the life of Ahwazi Arab leader Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, who died recently in London.

Ahwazi Arabs have engaged in a successful lobbying campaign in the British Parliament. The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has given evidence at the Conservative Human Rights Commission in the Palace of Westminster.

An Early Day Motion promoted by BAFS, which condemned the "long-running persecution of the Ahwazi Arabs" and mass executions of Ahwazi Arab activists, was signed by 49 Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum, including the Chair of the British Parliament's powerful Intelligence and Security Committee, Paul Murphy.

Foreign Minister Kim Howell has also voiced his "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."

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "It is vital that the British government maintains pressure on Iran to help stop the violent persecution of Ahwazi Arabs. We are pleased to have this opportunity to visit Downing Street to lodge our concerns."
AHWAZI DEMONSTRATION IN LONDON

AHWAZI DEMONSTRATION IN LONDON


Ahwazi Arabs are staging a demonstration and a day of meetings in the East End of London on 20 April.

The day of activism will start at 11am outside the East London Mosque, where Ahwazi Arabs will call for the solidarity of Tower Hamlets' Muslim population, which represents one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe. Ahwazi Arabs will then march along Whitechapel and up Brick Lane, which is the heart of London's Bangladeshi community. The march will end at Oxford House in Derbyshire Street, where there will be a series of meetings in honour of Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, an Ahwazi Arab leader and founding member of the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) who died recently in London. Guest speakers will include representatives of the Ahwazi, Kurdish, Azeri and Balochi communities of Iran as well as representatives of Arab Media Watch, Henry Jackson Society and the Green party.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "We want to raise awareness of the plight of Ahwazi Arabs in Iran and generate solidarity from the Bangladeshi community. Bangladeshis fought against the rule of the Pakistani Islamic republic for over 20 years and as a cultural and linguistic minority suffered greatly to win their freedom and to live in a secular, democratic society that respected their cultural rights. Ahwazis also want to be rid of the oppressive mullahs and to live in a democratic Iran with their culture and their rights respected. We also want to show the British Muslim community that those living under religious tyranny yearn to be free and that democracy and secularism is always preferable for ethnic and religious minorities and women."
FREE TIBET! FREE AL-AHWAZ!

FREE TIBET! FREE AL-AHWAZ!


The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) is supporting the Free Tibet demonstration in London on 6 April when the Olympic Flame is carried through the British capital.

Both Tibet and the Ahwazi Arab homeland are the victims of aggressive Chinese capitalism, which is trampling on the rights of indigenous groups the world over. In Khuzestan - known as Al-Ahwaz to its indigenous Arab inhabitants - China's Sinopec has signed a US$2bn agreement with the Iranian regime for the development of the Yadavaran oilfield.

The oilfield lies under traditional Ahwazi Arab lands and its development will mean yet more forced displacement for this persecuted and impoverished ethnic group. The regime has repeatedly turned down appeals by local parliamentary representatives for a meagre 1.5% redistribution of oil profits back to the indigenous people of this oil-rich region. Under the agreement, China will pay Iran as much as US$100bn over 25 years for liquefied natural gas and oil and a 51% stake in Yadavaran, but the local population will not see one rial of this money. Ethnic discrimination and poor educational standards also ensure that Ahwazi Arabs will not benefit from any job opportunities created by the development.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "China is raping Tibet and raping Al-Ahwaz for its profits, but the indigenous peoples of these nations are only rewarded with more social inequality, more state terrorism and more cultural repression.

"Ahwazi Arabs share the same political aspirations as the Tibetans. We demand cultural freedom, representation through democratic elections and political autonomy from the central government. This is the right of all free peoples. The oppressed should work in mutual solidarity to realise these demands.

"We say: Free Tibet! Free Al-Ahwaz! No to Chinese imperialism!"

Protest on the official Olympic Torch Relay route
Gather at Queensway at 11am,
Bedford Place at 11.45am
or Whitehall at 12.30pm
Click here for full details

Also, come along to the Tibetan Freedom Torch Rally
2.30pm at Argyle Square
Click for full details
Iran cuts drinking water to Arab towns and villages

Iran cuts drinking water to Arab towns and villages

The Iranian government has cut off drinking water supplies to Arab towns and villages along the left bank of the Shatt Al-Arab, causing social unrest and fears of an outbreak of disease among Arabs, according to a number of independent reports received by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS).

Local people have claimed that the cut in drinking water is either in revenge for recent attacks on visitors to the Iran-Iraq War battlefields or in order to pressure indigenous Ahwazi Arabs to leave their traditional lands.

Affected villages include Qufbeh Menuuhi and Khosroabad (Khazalabad) around Abadan and villages along the Shatt al-Arab up to Khorramshahr (Mohammareh).

Although the area has many large rivers, such as the Karoon and the Karkeh as well as the Shatt al-Arab, water has become salinated by intensive sugar cane production, making the water undrinkable, particularly at the mouth of the Karoon where it feeds into the Shatt al-Arab. The extent of the river pollution in the area has led Iranian scientists to declare it an environmental "crisis zone."

During the 1990s, riots broke out in the oil town of Abadan, which lies on the Shatt Al-Arab, over the lack of drinking water. The security forces killed dozens Ahwazi Arabs in the water riots. The government eventually responded to the problem by supply drinking water in tanks that served villages and towns in the affected areas.

The halt in drinking water supply is likely to lead to outbreaks of water-born diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Local Arabs have not been informed of the reason for the water cuts. Some believe the cuts have been carried out in revenge for recent attacks on bus convoys taking members of the Rahiyan-e-Nur visiting battlefields from the Iran-Iraq War. The Rahiyan-e-Nur is a section of the hardline volunteer paramilitary force, the Bassij, and its name means "those heading to the light." An Arab secessionist group, the Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Brigade, has claimed responsibility for an armed attack on buses carrying Rahiyan-e-Nur pilgrims travelling along the Bostan-Howaiza. It has launched the attacks, which it claims have killed four members of the security services, in revenge for the government's "unjust policies". Ethnic riots have also recently broken out in response to the death of Ahwazi Arab leader and BAFS founder Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi in London.

Ahwazi Arabs also believe that the drinking water has been cut to force them from their villages to expand the Arvand Free Zone, a military-industrial complex being developed along the Shatt al-Arab. Arabs living on Minoo Island, south of Abadan, have already faced state intimidation and expulsion. Most indigenous Arabs in the region believe this is in line with the government's ethnic cleansing programme, which was outlined in a letter written by the then vice-president Ali Abtahi and leaked to the press in April 2005.
IRAQ BEGINS FIGHT-BACK AGAINST IRAN'S MILITIAS

IRAQ BEGINS FIGHT-BACK AGAINST IRAN'S MILITIAS

The Iraqi government has closed the border between Basra and Iran's Khuzestan province, indicating that it sees Tehran's hand in militia-led terrorism in Iraq.

Iraqi troops have begun a campaign against the Mehdi Army of Shia extremist Moqtada al-Sadr. Mehdi Army leaders have been arrested, prompting al-Sadr to call for nation-wide civil disobedience. Weapons and improvised explosive devices have been seized in raids. Iran is suspected of being the source of weapons and explosives used by militias in Iraq.

Khuzestan, known as Al-Ahwaz by its indigenous Ahwazi Arab inhabitants, is a major supply route for arms entering Iraq from Iran. Iran has militarised the border region and ethnically cleansed Arab residents to secure its hold on Iraqi militias and direct terrorist attacks inside Iraq. Iraqi militias, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas group have been mobilised to quash all dissent among Ahwazi Arabs both inside Iran and throughout the Gulf region. This has included the assassination of Ahwazi Arab leaders. The regime has also sought to intimidate Iraqi and British forces. In 2006, it kidnapped Iraqi coast guards in the Shatt al-Arab, which forms the border between Basra and Khuzestan. The kidnapping of British naval personnel in 2007 was inextricably linked to the regime's long-term ambition to impose its territorial control over the strategic waterway and hold Baghdad hostage to its interests.

After receiving documents leaked from the Fajr Garrison in Ahwaz, the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) warned three years ago that the militarisation of Khuzestan was establishing the region as a base for terrorist operations inside Iraq. The information was revealed by former Iranian agents who defected due to pay cuts and showed that Tehran was employing up to 40,000 agents in Iraq. Fajr Garrison, near the city of Ahwaz, is the main headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in southern Iran. It hosts the IRGC's Qods Force, which runs the vast underground network in Iraq. Agents are paid by middle-men, who carry out regular visits to Ahwaz City to obtain payments and be debriefed by Qods commanders. Subsequent intelligence reports confirmed BAFS's information as correct. The Iranian regime has responded to BAFS's reports by declaring the organisation "illegal" and "dedicated to stirring up trouble between Iran and its neighbours."

Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, the Ahwazi Arab leader and BAFS executive member who died suddenly in London two weeks ago, warned last year that Iran was seeking to aggressively extend its influence over Iraq and the Gulf region. Speaking on Baghdad's Al-Sharqiyah Television in September 2007, he said: "It goes without saying that Iran will not seek the security and stability of Iraq as long as it has not achieved any understanding with the United States on all outstanding issues. Iran has a huge intelligence and military clout in Iraq."

He added that Iran exploited several factors to "go to extremes in its plans with a view to implementing its ambitious project of expanding at the expense of Iraqis in particular and the Arabs of the region in general."

In another interview with Lebanon's ABN network, Mansour said: "Now that Iraq is no longer competing with Iran, and now that Iran has gained a monopoly over the strategic situation in the region, they have stepped up the expropriation of lands in Al-Ahwaz. The Iranian regime - despite all its claims to support the Arab causes and so on... Whenever it identifies some weakness in the [Arab] nation, it escalates its ethnic cleansing policies in Al-Ahwaz.

"The Al-Ahwaz issue highlights the contradictions of the Iranian government. The Iranian government professes to call for unity, to avoid sectarianism, and to defend the Shiites. It tries to use the Shiite bargaining chip in some Arab countries in order to promote its plans and in order to extract some concessions from the US or from some of the other Western powers. If Iran really defends the Shiites, why does it oppress the [Arab] Shiites of Al-Ahwaz? The majority [of the Arabs] there are Shiite. If it really defends the [Arab] peoples in Lebanon and Palestine, why does it oppress its own Arab people? This is the greatest contradiction in the policy of the Iranian government."

An Iraqi speaking to BAFS from Basra today said that the various Iranian-backed Shia militias were effectively ruling the province through terror. Abu Musa said: "There are kidnappings and killings. Women no longer feel free to walk outside without hejab. The peace-loving Mandean religious minority has fled because they are the victims of acid attacks by these extremists. There is gunfire and chaos and crime. Iran wants to ruin Iraq. It does not want to see a successful Arab democracy. Iraqis, whether Shia or Sunni, stand with the Ahwazi Arabs against this menace and the gangsters in Tehran. If Iran interferes in our country, we will stand with the struggle of their oppressed."
Funeral for Ahwazi Arab leader Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi

Funeral for Ahwazi Arab leader Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) publishes photographs of the funeral of Ahwazi Arab leader Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi, who founded the pro-federalist Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz and BAFS. The funeral was held in Hounslow Jamia Masjid on Saturday, three days after Mansour died from a stroke, aged 47. Tributes have poured in from inside Al-Ahwaz and throughout the Ahwazi Arab Diaspora.

- BAFS's statement
- Mansour's final television broadcast







Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi speaks

Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi speaks

The following video clips are of a broadcast Ahwazi Arab leader Mansour Silawi al-Ahwazi gave just hours before he suffered a fatal stroke. In the speech, Mansour addresses a wide range of issues relating to the Ahwazi struggle and democracy in Iran. Click here to read BAFS's report on Mansour's death.







Amnesty appeals against Iran's anti-Arab executions

Amnesty appeals against Iran's anti-Arab executions

The following appeal was issued by Amnesty International. Click here to download the original.

Zamel Bawi, a member of the Iranian Arab minority, was executed on 29 January at 4am in Karoun Prison, Khuzestan province. On 28 January, the eve of his execution, Zamel Bawi was allowed a family visit. Neither Zamel nor his family nor his lawyer were informed of the imminence of the execution, although Iranian law states that the authorities should inform a detainee's lawyer at least 48 hours before a death sentence is due to be carried out.

Zamel Bawi, a businessman and shop owner, was arrested by security forces on 11 August 2005 along with four of his brothers and a cousin. At the end of October 2005, Zamel Bawi had been sentenced to death. On 10 June 2006 Branch 3 of the Abdulredha Nawaseri who were executed in 2007 (see UA 57/06 MDE 13/023/2006, 10 March 2006 and follow-ups). The 10 men were accused of being "mohareb" (at enmity with God) which can carry the death penalty. Other charges included "destabilizing the country", "attempting to overthrow the government", "possession of home-made bombs", "sabotage of oil installations" and carrying out bombings in Ahvaz, which took place between June and October 2005. Zamel Bawi was further convicted of hiding seven home-made bombs.

The remaining men are serving prison sentences varying between 10 and 25 years in exile within the country. Amnesty International believes that Mohsen Bawi is detained in Konarak Prison, outside the town of Chabahar, in Sistan-Baluchistan province and Imad Bawi is detained in Tabas Prison, in Khorasan province. The two brothers were said to have been taken into solitary confinement following the news of the execution of their brother.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran's oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. There were mass demonstrations in April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October 2005, the cycle of violence intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. There have been reports of torture. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arrests. At least 17 men have now been executed as a result of their alleged involvement in the bombings. It is not clear if another man was executed or died in custody.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, French Farsi, Arabic, or your own language:

- stating that Amnesty International recognizes the rights and responsibilities of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but strongly opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life;

- deploring the execution of Zamel Bawi;

- seeking clarification as to why Zamel Bawi's lawyer was not informed at least 48 hours before his execution, as he should have been according to Iranian law;

- seeking full details of the trials of Zamel Bawi, his brothers Mohsen, Imad, Hani and Moslem; their cousin Asad Bawi, relatives Mansour Tayouri and Hassan Boughedar; and Lefteh Sarkhi, including details of the charges and evidence against them and any appeals they may have made;

- expressing concern at reports that these prisoners were not granted access to a lawyer during some or all sessions of their trial, and as such, their trial did not meet international standards for fair trial, as laid down by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a State Party.

- seeking assurances that those who remain in prison are not being tortured or ill-treated in detention.

German left MEP condemns Iran's executions

A leading German member of the United European Left group in the European Parliament has voiced his group's opposition to the Iranian government's execution of Ahwazi Arab activist Zamel Bawi and the threat of further executions.

This week, the United European Left voted against a resolution that included condemnation of the execution campaign against Ahwazi activists, including a Dutch citizen and two UNHCR-registered refugees who were kidnapped in Syria in 2006, as well as other human rights issues, the nuclear programme and EU-Iran relations.

In an email to Karim Abdian, the Chairman of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO), Tobias Pflüger MEP explained that the group voted against the European Parliament resolution on Iran due to its concerns over an unrelated paragraph on the issue of Iran's nuclear programme which he feared would make it possible to introduce "conterproductive sanctions as steps to a possible war against Iran." He said: "In the negotations we supported the human rights aspects of the resolution," adding that the left-wing group of MEPs supported the paragraph condemning the executions of Ahwazi Arabs.
London Demostration Against Iran's Persecution

London Demostration Against Iran's Persecution

On Sunday 21 January 2007, London's Ahwazi Arab and Balochi communities staged a demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy.

Iranian Balochis, Kurds, Azeris and Turkmen also participated and supported the protest against the violent persecution of minorities and a recent spate of executions.

A spokesman from the Ahwazi community told a reporter from Ilaph - the a popular Arabic news website - that in recent weeks at least 30 Ahwazi Arabs have been executed, drowned in the Karoon River, died under torture or shot to death while being pursued by the security forces.

Ahwazi demands included the release of 250 people who were arrested on 11 January 2008 in a Mosque in Ahwaz during a funeral for Mr Haidari, a young Ahwazi political activist who was shot dead during a chase. Also the demonstrators requested the presence of international observers in Iranian courts where Ahwazi Arabs are being tried.

Adnan Salman, a member of the central committee of the Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz, told Ilaph "the world should know that we are being massacred by the Islamic Republic just for trying to be who we are and preserve our identity; that we are here to demonstrate against the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in Iran." Mr. Salman also crticised Arab governments for their silence in the face of these attcrocities.

Hamza Bayazidi, a member of Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), which is also a member of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI), highlighted the killing of two Kurdish students by the Iranian government.

Several Balochi leaders in London, including Dr Reza Husseinbor, Abdolah Siahoi and Rahim Bandoi, from various Baloch political aprties, drew attention to the killings in Balochistan over the past month, including five men whose hands and fingers were chopped off.
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST--Al-Ahwazi Arab Society – UK

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST--Al-Ahwazi Arab Society – UK

The societies of Baloch and Al-Ahwazi Arabs of UK call upon every quarter of oppressed nations of Iran and all freedom-lovers to join the demonstration against wave of recent executions and arbitary mass arrests in Al-Ahwaz and in Balochistan, and against killing and oppresive policies of the regime in Turkmansahra, in Kurdistan,in Azarbaijan and other regions of oppressed nations; and express condemnation for such barbaric acts of the tyrant regime.

Place: Opposite Iran’s Embassy in London


Time: 12.30 pm, Sunday 20th January 2008
Baloch Society -UK
Al-Ahwazi Society-UK
Hundreds Were Arrested by Iranian Security Forces During a Funeral in Ahwaz city

Hundreds Were Arrested by Iranian Security Forces During a Funeral in Ahwaz city

Despite our appeal of 30/12/2007 and the appeals of the international community and a large number of international human rights organizations, the Iranian regime this week secretly executed the following four political activists in Karoon prison in Ahwaz City: Ahmad Marmazi, Abdolhussein Harabii, Hussein Asakereh, and Mehdi Haidari. They were all Arab (Ahwazi) residents of Ma'sur (Mahshar), and were all married with children.

Four more men are slated for execution, possibly next week. They are all members of Iran's ethnic Arab minority in Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz) province, a homeland to five million Ahwazi Arabs in Iran.

During the funeral of Mehdi Haidari in the Seyed-ol-Shohada Mosque in Shilingaba, a poor section of Ahwaz, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) attacked about 800 funeral attendees and arrested 150 to 200 of them. There are a number of juveniles among the detainees. Since the arrests a week ago, the families of detainees have been gathering outside the Khuzestan governor's office, demanding the immediate release of their children and relatives. None but a very few have been released so far.

Iranian Human Rights Activist Group (IHRG) has announced the names of 102 detainees:

1- Sheikh Abuhasan, 2- Mohsen Abidawi (45 years old), 3- Karim Ahmadi (28), 4- Ebrahim Bawi (poet), 5- Ali Abed Bedawi, 6- Muhammad Darisawi, 7- Qasem Daghaghle (18), 8- Rahim Daghaghle (16), 9- Ahmad Daghaghle, 10- Morteza Daghaghle, 11- Mahmud Daghaghle, 12- Abdulreza Daghaghle, 13- Musa Daghaghle, 14- Muhammad Daghaghle, 15- Saeed Dahani, 16- Musa Dahimi, 17 - Musa Dahimi (Abu Auwan), 18- Jafar Dahimi, 19- Sadik Dahimi, 20- Maki Duraghi, 21- Habib Duragi, 22- Jafar Duragi, 23- Seyed Ebrahim, 24- Abbas Eshghi (famous singer/entertainer in Ahwaz), 25- Khaled Halafi, 26- Hussein Heidari, 27- Khaled Halafi, 28- Abu Hassan (Poet), 29- Amer Heidari, 30- Kazem Heydari, 31- Jaber Hamidi (20), 32- Jawas Heydari (Poet), 33- Hamid Heydari Abumajud (Poet), 34- Kamal Heydari (Lawyer), 35- Ahmad Heydari, 36- Adnan Heydari, 37- Jawad Heydari, 38- Jamil Heydari, 39- Saeed Heydari, 40- Amir Heydari, 41- Muhammad Jasem Batrani, 42- Qasem Jalili, 43- Qasem Jalili, 44- Ahmad Khaledian (16), 45- Yusef Khaledian (17), 46- Ramaden Khasergi, 47- Ahmad Majdam (18), 48- Majid Majdam, 49- Saeed Majdam, 50- Seyed Tofiq Musawi, 51- Seyed Muhammad Musawi, 52- Seyed Dahayi Musai, 53- Saeed Muhammad, 54- Seyed Ali Musawi, 55- Seyed Ebrahim Musawi, 56- Jasem Mahawi, 57- Ebrahim Manesh Dawi (17), 58- Yaser Naseri (18), 59- Ramadan Nawabsari, 60- Qader Neysi, 61- Aqil Neysi, 62- Ali Neysi, 63- Qasem Neysi, 64- Yasin Neysi, 65- Hussein Neysi, 66- Mehdi Abu Saleh, 67- Mehdi Abu Saleh, 68- Abdolzahra Sawar(18), 69- Musa Dahimi (Sawari )(26), 70- Fadel Sharifi, 71- Salem Shakhi, 72- Ali Sawari, 73- Hussein Sawari, 74- Seyad Jume Sawari (Poet), 75- Khaled Sawari (30), 76- khalil Sawari (19),77- Reza Sawari, 78- Feysal Sawari, 79- Rahim Sawari, 80- Kaleld Sawari, 81- Rasul Sawari, 82- Saeed Sawaedi, 83- Sattar Sayahi Abu Sarwar (Poet) (30), 84- Mustafa Muhammad Sawari, 85- Hashem Sayyahi, 86- Hassan Saeedi, 87- Ahmad Shamusi (Lawyer), 88- Khaled Sayahi,89- Jamal Sayahi,90- Khaled Sayahi,91- Muhammad Sayahi,92- Hassan Saeedi, 93- Seyed Nasser Al Seyyed, 94- Abu Shoja (Poet), 95- Jafar Soidi (Dahimi) (13), 96- Qazi Tamimi, 97- Seyed Ebrahim Yaseri, 98- Seyed Naji Yaser,99- Seyed Fuad Yaseri, 100- Muhammad Amer Ziadat (Poet), 101- Mazid Zargani, 102- Sayed Naser al Sayed[1]

In the 12 months prior to the most recent executions, at least 19 Ahwazi-Arab activists have been publicly hanged (three were executed just days after Un Human Rights Commissioner , Ms. Arbour, visited Tehran in September 2007). Four others, including Zamal Bawi, Faleh al-Mansouri, Said Saki, Rasoul Mazrea, are in danger of imminent execution[2] [3]. The news of their impending executions has come from family members as well as the Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, and the Human Rights & Democracy Activists group, and from Mr. Musa Pirbani, Khuzestan's prosecutor. Mr. Mazrea, Mr. al-Mansouri and Mr. Saki, along with 3 other Ahwazis, were deported by the Syrian government in May 2006. The men were all recognized refugees under UNHCR protection, and were pending third-country resettlement at the time of their deportation to Iran.

The charges against them include hoisting the Ahwazi flag, giving their children Sunni names, converting from Shi'ism to Sunnism, preaching "Wahabbism", and being "Mohareb" or enemies of god, which carries death sentence. Other charges are "destabilizing the country", "attempting to overthrow the government", "possession of improvised explosives", "sabotage of oil installations" and being a "threat to national security."

Last year, Mr. Emadeldin Baghi, a leading Iranian human rights activist, in a letter to the chief of the judiciary Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, argued that the trials of Ahwazi Arabs were flawed, the charges baseless, and that the sentencing was based on a spurious interpretation of law and that no evidence has been presented.[4] Mr. Nkbakht, a prominent defense lawyer in Iran, made a similar statement. Others, including the President of the European Council, the UN General Assembly, 48 British MPs, the EU Parliament, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned their trials as unjust and unfair, and appealed for a halt to further execution.[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

This new wave of executions is designed to intimidate and terrorize the indigenous Ahwazi-Arab population into submission. Although the Ahwazi Arab homeland in Iran's Khuzestan province is one of the most oil-rich regions in the world and represents up to 90 percent of Iran's oil production, the community endures extreme levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Ahwazis are subjected to repression and racial discrimination, and are faced with land confiscation, forced displacement and forced assimilation.

Also, on Friday 12 October 2007, in the predominantly Arab city of Hamidieh in Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz), some 200 residents were arrested following a peaceful march against poverty, unemployment and excessive repression and persecution, on the occasion of this year's Muslim Eid ul-Fitr holiday. The Iranian government refuses to divulge any information on the whereabouts of the detainees.



We appeal to you the world leaders and the international community to condemn the latest wave of arbitrary arrests and secret executions, and call upon the Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution of the others. We request that you further call upon Iran to ensure due legal process in accordance with internationally recognized standards and to uphold its obligations with regard to civil and political rights, including the provision of equal rights to ethnic, religious and minority groups in Iran, including the indigenous Ahwazi-Arabs.


For further information, please see a dossier of other human rights violations against indigenous and ethnic Ahwazi-Arabs in Iran: http://www.ahwazmedia.com/dossier.pdf



Ahwaz Human Rights Organization
AHRO- UK -P.O.Box 17725, London, N5 2WP, U.K

AHRO-USA - P.O. Box 679, Lorton, Virginia 22199

[1] http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/034624.htm

[2] http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article4711

[3] http://pejvakzendanyan.blogfa.com/post-108.aspx

[4] http://www.emadbaghi.com/en/archives/000761.php

[5] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/cfsp/92611.pdf

[6] http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130052007?open&of=ENG-IRN\

[7] http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130852006?open&of=ENG-392

[8] http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/11/11/iran14560.htm

[9] http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/26/iran13609.htm
NCRI, Iran: The mullahs' regime amputated a hand and foot of five prisoners

NCRI, Iran: The mullahs' regime amputated a hand and foot of five prisoners

The mullahs' regime amputated the right hand and left foot of five prisoners identified as M.A. Jalali, A.B. Rigi, A. Rigi, A.R. Roudini and D. Pahlevan, the state-run news agency ISNA reported on Sunday.

The mullahs' henchmen hanged in public two prisoners named Abulfazl R. and Abulfazl M. in the central city of Arak, the state-run news agency Fars reported yesterday.

On Saturday, a man identified as Alireza Mayboti was hanged in public in the holy city of Qom, reported the above source.

A prisoner was hanged in the western city of Hamedan and another one in the northeastern city of Gorgon without being identified, the official news agency IRNA reported on January 3, and 5 respectively.

Only a week into the New Year, the clerical regime executed 16 prisoners, amputated the limbs of five other victims, and imprisoned 80 local residents, among them a number of juveniles in the southwestern city of Ahwaz. All are signs of a regime desperate in combating the increasing popular uprisings nationwide.

The Iranian Resistance calls on the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and all other human rights organizations to condemn the suppressive measures adopted by the Iranian regime and refer its human rights dossier to the UN Security Council.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
Maryam Rajavi calls for release of Ahwaz detainees

Maryam Rajavi calls for release of Ahwaz detainees

Following an increasing wave of suppression and arrests by the mullahs' regime in the southwestern province of Khuzestan last week, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance expressed sympathy with the families of those arrested by the State Security Forces (SSF).

Last week, the SSF units and agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) attacked Seyed-ol-Shohada Mosque, arresting 80 local residents. There are a number of juveniles among the detainees.

On January 2, the families of detainees gathered outside the Khuzistan's governor's office, demanding the immediate release of their children and relatives.

The Iranian regime is attempting to combat the volatile state in the region by adopting such suppressive measures in Khuzistan Province.
Iran condemned for torturing Arab prisoners to death

Iran condemned for torturing Arab prisoners to death

The following is an urgent appeal from the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation concerning the torturing to death of ethnic Arabs

To: Ms. Louise Arbour , High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations
UNOG-OHCHR, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Dear Madam Commissioner:

After this year's Muslim Eid ul-Fitr prayer on Friday 12 October 2007, residents of the city of Hamidieh, an Arab city in the predominately Arab-populated Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz) province in Southwest Iran, staged a peaceful march against poverty, unemployment and excessive repression and persecution of Arabs. Iranian security forces attacked the demonstrators and arrested hundreds. According to the relatives of those held in custody, the Ministry of Information and Security has refused to divulge any information on their whereabouts, condition and the charges against them. Recently some of the families were told to collect the dead bodies of their family members from morgues in the barrack of Army 92nd Division. We have received reliable reports that they have died under torture. Their names are as follows:

1. Ghaiban Obidawi, a laborer, 38, married with four children. He was killed under torture. His fingers on both hands were cut off and his eyes were partially gouged out, according to his family. His body was found in Karoon River on December 12, 2007.

2. Ali Chaldawi, 23, food vendor. He was killed under torture in Ahwaz on 9 December 2007. His body was retrieved in an alleyway in Ahwaz City on 11 December 2007. His body has many visible torture marks, including severed fingers and the removal of toe nails.

3. Ali Obidawi (Sawari), 37, son of Ghanem Obidawi, a former member of Hamidieh City Council. Taxi Driver, married with two children. There has been no trace of him since his arrest in October. The government has not provided any information despite his family's repeated requests. His family and other local sources believe he died under torture.

4. Yousef Lefteh-pour, 24, single, a resident of Hamidieh. There has been no trace of him since his arrest in October. The government has not provided any information despite his family's repeated requests. His family and other local sources believe he died under torture in Sepidar prison in Ahwaz.

5. Ahmad Saedi (Marmazi), truck driver, 23 , married. The Ministry of Information and Security has not provided any information to his family despite his family's repeated requests. His family and other local sources believe he died under torture.

6. Saleh Ameri (aka Ahmad Jazeyeri), former secretary general of Ahwaz Liberation Front, which was dissolved after 1979 Iranian revolution, is reportedly still undergoing severe torture in Ahwaz. He is 76 years old and has not been politically active for over 28 years. However, he is a widely respected symbol and hero of resistance against the oppression of Tehran government against indigenous Ahwazi Arabs.

7. Walid Naisi, 50, married with five children, a manager of the Eshragh Bookstore and Cultural Center in Ahwaz City. He was arrested along with some 50 employees of Eshragh in October 2007 on suspicion of selling Arabic literature considered seditious by the Iranian government. The Ministry of Information and Security has not provided any information to his family despite his family's repeated requests. His family and other local sources believe he died under torture.

Families who have recovered the dead bodies of those detained by the Iranian government have been ordered not to have a public burial or any other burial ceremony. Instead, they were ordered to bury the bodies in unmarked burial grounds specified by the government in a remote area called Lanat-Abad (the damned Cemetery), where animals are also buried.

Madam Commissioner: As you know, in addition to the above, in the past 12 months, at least 19 Ahwazi-Arab activists have been publicly hanged (three were executed just days after your visit to Tehran in September). Seven others, including Zamal Bawi, Faleh al-Mansouri, Said Saki, Rasoul Mazrea, Ahmad Marmazi, Hissein Asakereh and Abdolhossein Haribi, are in danger of imminent execution[1] [2].

The killing and the executions are in the context of a brutal clamp-down on Ahwazi Arabs protesting against ethnic discrimination and persecution - designed to intimidate them into submission.

Most charges against most Arab activists include requesting autonomy for Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz), converting from Shi'ism to Sunnism and being "Mohareb" or enemies of God, which carries a death sentence. Other unsubstantiated charges allege "destabilizing the country", "attempting to overthrow the government", "possession of improvised explosives", "sabotage of oil installations" and being a "threat to national security."

Although the homeland of the Ahwazi Arabs, who number five million, is one of the most oil-rich regions in the world and represents up to 90 per cent of Iran's oil production, the community endures high levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Ahwazis are subjected to repression, racial discrimination and are faced with land confiscation, forced displacement and forced assimilation.

We appeal to you to condemn the latest torture and wave of execution and call upon Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution of the others. We also request that you call upon Iran to ensure due legal process in accordance with internationally recognized standards and to uphold its obligations with regard to civil and political rights, including the provision of equal rights to ethnic, religious and minority groups in Iran – such as the indigenous Ahwazi Arabs – as outlined in the Iranian constitution and various international conventions to which Iran is a signatory.

Sincerely,

Karim Abdian, PhD

Executive Director
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization

[1] http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article4711

[2] http://pejvakzendanyan.blogfa.com/post-108.aspx