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Rape: Iran's weapon against Arab women

Iranian security forces are using rape in an effort to silence discontent within the country's Arab population.

According to credible reports received by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) and its Danish sister organisation, the Dansk Ahwazi Venskabsforening (DAVF), two young Ahwazi Arab women were gang raped by four members of the Hefazat-e Etelaat-e Sepah Pasdaran, the intelligence service of the Revolutionary Guards that answers directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The women are aged 25 and 26 years old and were raped at a Revolutionary Guards prison in Charshir district of Ahwaz City on 1 September. They had been arrested in an ongoing campaign by the regime against Arab cultural and political activists. One of the women was previously raped in 2006. The rapes were filmed by the intelligence services to blackmail the women's families into silence and to humiliate them in order to break them psychologically.

In Iran, victims of rape, including children and pregnant women, are executed for adultery and 'crimes against chastity'. But even if the women are not charged with adultery for being raped, their relatives fear being socially ostracised for the dishonour and shame that comes with extra-marital sex. In this way, families can be silenced and sometimes they carry out 'honour killings' if the wider community finds out.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: 'These families should have no shame as their daughters, sisters and wives are victims. The shame belongs to Ayatollah Khomenei, who is directing rape gangs in all prisons under his control, and the Iranian security infrastructure. Rape is used to divide and silence. Those who accuse victims of being criminally culpable are collaborators with the regime.

'In defiance of the Iranian regime, we say to our Ahwazi sisters and their families that you bear no shame or responsibility for this evil violation. We mourn with you and on your behalf we will fight harder against Tehran's fascist government for the liberation of Ahwazi Arab women from cultural, political, social and gender oppression.'

In a separate development, two women were executed earlier this month in Karoon prison in Ahwaz City. They were identified only by their first names - Fozieh and Khadijeh. The Iranian media claimed they were drug traffickers. Three men were executed at the same time on similar charges.