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.