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Iran regime arrests eight Ahwazi Arabs over killings in Hamidieh, accuses non-existent group

The Iranian regime has arrested eight Ahwazi Arabs on charges of terrorism, accusing them of being members of a non-existent group called 'Khalq-e Arab' (Arab People) movement.

The eight are accused of killing a policeman and one or two civilians during unrest in Ahwaz City on April 15. Iranian press reports vary on the number of alleged deaths. A provincial police commander claimed they were nabbed in a joint operation by police and intelligence agents. The names of those arrested are not known. The regime has used the name 'Khalq-e Arab' in a variety of disturbances and bomb attacks in the Ahwaz region over the past 30 years, although groups that do advocate armed insurrection do not operate under this name.

The Ahwazi Arab Solidarity Network has received reports that the security services may be attempting to frame Ahwazi Arab youth arrested during a house raid before the unrest broke out. The arrests come after the government withheld the body of Mohammad Mubaari who was shot dead by security forces in Hamidieh on April 16 in an attempt to pressure the family into publicly blaming Ahwazi Arab protesters for killing him. Meanwhile, the killings of unarmed demonstrators by the security services are not being subject to independent investigation, as urged by Amnesty International and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

The situation is complicated by false reports on Twitter and Facebook by some from outside Iran or unconnected with the Ahwazi Arab struggle that are lending credibility to the regime's accusations that the protesters are a national security threat. The regime wishes to isolate the Ahwazi Arabs and downplay their ethnic grievances by playing on the fears of the Iranian population of foreign involvement in domestic insurrection, particularly from Saudi Arabia, Britain, the US and Israel who represent the regime's most hated enemies.