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...

Iran steps up anti-Arab execution campaign

Four more Ahwazi Arab political prisoners are facing execution following verdicts handed down by secretive revolutionary courts this week with three more given prison sentences, according to a report by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO).

Four Arab political prisoners have already been officially executed so far this year with a further seven killed extra-judicially under torture. With five Arabs sentenced to death in July, this week's judgment brings the total number of Ahwazi political prisoners on death row to nine. All political prisoners have been convicted of the same charges: enmity with God and corruption on the Earth.

The following men are sentenced to hang, although none have any previous convictions:
  • Abdulreza Amir Khanafereh, son of Younes, 25 years old, single
  • Abdul Amir Mojadami, aged 32, married
  • Shahab  Abbasi, son of Ahmad, aged 26, single
  • Ghazi Abbasi, son of Ahmad, aged 30, single
The following men have been sentenced to three months imprisonment in Ardebil:
  • Jasem Moghaddam Payam, son of Saeed, aged 27
  • Sami Jadmawy Nejad, son of Aziz, aged 29, single
  • Hadi Albo Khanfar Nejad, son of Abdul Kheder, born in 1360, married
The British government has condemned the execution campaign against Ahwazi Arabs. In a strongly worded announcement following the death sentences announced in July, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Iran's continued, widespread persecution of ethnic minorities, human rights defenders and political prisoners is a disgrace and stands as a shameful indictment of Iran's leaders. The Iranian government should know that its systematic attempt to curtail the freedom of its citizens will not go unchallenged by the international community and only adds to its isolation. I call on Iran immediately to commute these death sentences, to stop torturing its citizens and to end the systematic persecution of its ethnic minorities."

The European ParliamentNobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi and leading international human rights organisations have voiced increasing alarm at the number of death sentences imposed and carried out by the government in recent months.

Shortly before their execution in June, three brothers - Taha Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian and Abdul-Rahman Heidarian and the friend Ali Sharifi secretly filmed an appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed calling for his intervention to halt the campaign. They vehemently denied the murder charges against them and detailed three months of torture, sometimes in the presence of the public prosecutor, in which they finally agreed to sign false confessions. They also voiced their opposition to terrorism and violence, saying their only interest was to protest against the persecution of their community.

Five others condemned to death following trials condemned as deeply unfair are Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Shabani, and Mohammad-Ali Amouri and two brothers Seyed Mokhtar Alboshokeh and Seyed Jaber Alboshokeh. According to Human Rights Watch, the five were arrested by security forces in February 2011. They have all been accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation and involvement in shootings that authorities say occurred in and around the town of Khalafabad in Khuzestan province in 2010. Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson stated that there was no evidence presented against the men and no transparency in the conviction and sentencing. Human rights groups such as Justice for Iran are calling for Iranian officials involved in the persecution of the country's Arab minority to be subject to international sanctions.

French Parliament Listens to Iran's Persecuted Ethnicities

Life after the Iranian regime was the topic of debate at an Iranian federalist conference at the French parliament this month.

The ground-breaking symposium was led by ethno-national parties representing the Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Balochis and Azerbaijanis who together comprise more than half Iran's population.

Historical change

Referring to the revolutionary fervour of the 'Arab Spring' of 2011, French Socialist MP Pouria Amirshahi told the conference that the Middle East was far more complex than portrayed in the international media. He stated that supporting the movement for change was a moral duty and had historical significance which is only just being understood.

Gilles Riaux, a senior researcher the Strategic Research Institute of French Military School, spoke on ‘the reconfiguring of relations between the centre and the periphery under the Islamic Republic’ in the context of ethnicity in Iran. He spoke about the rising strength of ethnic movements, while other issues such as women's rights had failed to lead revolutionary change in Iran. Mr Riaux emphasised that non-Persian nationalities and ethnic groups did not fully support or whole-heartedly participate in the 'Green Movement' as its leaders had failed to address their aspirations.

In his speech on ‘the evolution of Turkish-Iranian relations before and after the Arab Spring’, Professor Nuri Yesilyurt of Ankara University talked of the changing relationship between Turkey and Iran following a golden period of co-operation for a decade. As the relationship between the two countries has cooled, Turkey assumed the role of mediator between Sunni groups and Western powers during a recent series of ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings. Prod Yesilyurt claimed this would inevitably challenge Iran’s policy towards minorities in the region.

International importance of ethnicity

Veteran Kurdish leader Mustafa Hijri addressed the French Parliament
Kendal Nezan, President of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, reiterated the bias in the Western media towards covering issues related to Iran’s nuclear weapons, as opposed to more pressing concerns such as human rights atrocities against ethno-national groups.

Nasser Boladei, First Secretary of the Baluchistan People’s Party, reinforced Mr Nezan’s view by pointing out the failure to report on the death sentence of nine Baluchis by the Iranian regime earlier in September. He believes that both the Iranian national and the international media, including Iranian human rights organisations, would have initiated a solidarity campaign had the death sentences been handed out to Persians. He also commented in detail about the nature of poverty and deprivation among the Baluchis of Iran, concluding that the Iranian regime’s silencing of an ethnically diverse population is pushing the country to a political fate that could potentially be worse than Syria or Yugoslavia.

Hedayat Soltanzadeh, a leading member of the Democratic Federal Movement of Azerbaijan, highlighted the  discrimination against non-Persian peoples during humanitarian aid following the recent earthquake in Iranian Azerbaijan. He said the outcome of discrimination was far worse than any consequences of international intervention in Iran.

Persecution of Arabs is an Iranian sickness

Karim Abdian and Yousef Azizi Bani Torof
Dr Karim Abdian, representing the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz, raised highlighted the failure of the Iranian regime to leverage the country's vast human and natural resources to tackle severe social and economic underdevelopment, the lack of freedom and democracy, perpetual corruption and injustice and the succession of dictatorships, both monarchist and theocratic. In a passionate plea, he compared the highly centralized Persian dominated nation-state of Iran with a misdiagnosed sick person who embodies the misery of its multinational state comprised of six major nationalities including Arabs, Baluchis, Kurds, Persians, Turks and Turkmen and other smaller ethnic groups. The fight for freedom and democracy will continue for as long as Arab identity is culturally and politically repressed in Iran

Dr Abdian further added that Ahwazi Arabs, who constitute about 10 percent of the population and live in an oil-rich region with 110bn barrels of oil reserves, have been put under political, cultural, social and economic subjugation for the past 87 years. These regimes have not only stripped the Arabs of Ahwaz of their basic human rights but have also treated them as second or even third class citizens in their own lands. The Ahwazi Arabs have endured one of the worst examples of brutal persecution and ethnic cleansing imaginable by the monarchist regimes of Pahlavis and the clerical regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Speaking on the right to autonomy, Yousef Azizi Bani Torof, Chairman of the Centre for Combatting Racism and Discrimination Against Arabs in Iran, pointed out the Islamic Republic’s outright rejection of the 12-point demands made by 6-7mn Ahwazi Arabs to the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan in 1979. He said that at the time, Ahwazi Arabs had demanded autonomy within the framework of the Iranian constitution. Given a chance, the Arab nation was willing to recognize and respect the Iranian constitution, but unfortunately the Ahwazi Arabs faced severe repression from General Ahmad Madani.

Highlighting the injustice, gross inequality and discrimination against the Ahwazi-Arabs, Mr Bani Torof drew attention to the main rivers such as Karoon and Dez that have been diverted to Persian provinces while Ahwazi Arabs suffer from drought and lack of clean drinking water. According to an UN survey, Ahwaz City has been declared as the most polluted city in the world. Besides, it is also the seat of cultural repression with the Islamic Republic engaged in a xenophobic drive to substitute the Arabic names of cities and streets with Persian names.

In the light of such basic human rights violation, Mr Bani Torof reiterated the political solution that has been presented by the diverse ethnic groups: the establishment of a federal system in Iran. Mr Bani Torof ended the session on a passionate note by stating that the anniversary of the 2005 Ahwazi Arab Intifada is honoured by many Ahwazis, who as a result are willing to endure detention, execution and unreported disappearance.

"Disappeared" Ahwazi man's body found dumped in the Karoon

The body of Abbas Sawari, arrested in April 2011, was found washed up on the shore of the River Karoon this week, according to Ahwazi human rights activists.

Sawari was involved in demonstrations in the Hay al-Thawra district of Ahwaz City. The protests commemorated the sixth anniversary of the Ahwazi Arab intifada and expressed solidarity with the Arab Spring uprisings.

Sawari's family received no further information on him following his arrest and there are no known criminal charges against him.

The cause of his death is as yet unknown. His death represents the seventh extra-judicial killing of an Ahwazi Arab detainee so far this year.


The international community should consider multilateral military action to remove the Iranian regime, say Ahwazi Arab opposition groups in a survey of opinion conducted by the Ahwazi Arab Solidarity Network (AASN).

The survey of leading Ahwazi parties and activists found unanimous opposition to an Israeli strike on facilities related to the Iranian nuclear programme, but warned that sanctions will not be enough to encourage the regime to abide by its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in accordance with UN resolutions. Only multilateral military intervention aimed at overthrowing the oppressive, terrorist-sponsoring regime will prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons, say the respondents who urged Western governments to work with them towards democratisation.

The Ahwazi opposition is comprised of a number of disparate groups. Among those surveyed are the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF, a secessionist, secular socialist party), the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA, a federalist secular liberal party), the National Liberation Movement of Al-Ahwaz (NLMA, a secessionist party that advocates moderate Islam against what it sees as an extremist regime), the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) advocacy group and leading intellectuals and opinion-formers within the Ahwazi Diaspora. These groups have different ideas about the future of Al-Ahwaz or Arabistan, an autonomous Arab region until 1925. The central differences within the Ahwazi movement are whether to seek an independent state or greater autonomy within Iran and whether or not to wage an armed struggle.

The report remarks: "On the issue of the response to Iran’s nuclear programme, there are areas of consensus that the international community should heed. Living in an oil-rich region, the five-million strong impoverished and persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority will play a crucial role in regime change and they deserve to be heard."


There is broad support among Ahwazi groups for the toughest possible sanctions regime against the Iran government, including sanctions that would effectively shut down the Iranian economy to foreign trade. Ahwazi groups are unanimous in their opinion that sanctions have no negative impact on the welfare of Ahwazi Arabs, who are already suffering long-standing economic and social marginalisaton.

There is overwhelming support for the EU’s oil embargo, but also a belief that the international community should go further in using sanctions to penalize human rights abuse and facilitate democratic change.

The DSPA states that the current sanctions regime has had a “serious impact on the development of Iran’s nuclear programme” and says “we are pretty sure that the majority of political activists in Al-Ahwaz support sanctions against Tehran.” It adds that “the Ahwazis suffer deprivation rarely seen in the world and for decades have suffered economic sanctions imposed by the regime on their cultural, political, social and economic life.”

The ADPF is more sceptical about the effects of sanctions, stating that they “believe that sanctions won't work with this regime”. The party further adds that “we do not support any negotiation with this regime, which will prolong its life and make it stronger.”

The NLMA calls for a toughening of the sanctions regime, including a naval blockade to prevent all oil exports in order to bankrupt the Iranian government and destroy its ability to oppress its own people, particularly non-Persian ethnic groups. Such sanctions would wreck Iran’s nuclear programme and undermine its support for international terrorism, says the group.

In its list of demands, the NLMA effectively calls for a complete trade embargo with sanctions against any state trading with Iran. These sanctions should be backed up by military force, including a naval blockade of Iran’s sea ports and closure of all banking operations.

The NLMA acknowledges that “undoubtedly there are negative effects on the lives of the people of Ahwaz Arab due to these international sanctions, but our people will welcome them so long as they lead to the legitimate demand for an independent Ahwazi state including their national rights, working in accordance with international law […] and in the interest of international peace and security.”

Prominent Ahwazi journalist and commentator Hamed al-Kanani remarks that Ahwazi Arabs are unaffected in material terms by the sanctions due to their marginal status. While he supports the current sanctions, he says it has not been effective in preventing the development of the Iranian nuclear programme and on their own will not topple the regime just as sanctions failed to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. He adds that “the previous Iraqi regime was not overthrown by the Iraqis themselves. If the US and other Western countries were not [militarily] engaged, the regime would still be in power.”

BAFS criticizes the overwhelming emphasis on nuclear proliferation at the expense of human rights and good governance. It called for Western “investment” in Ahwazi Arab NGOs to build a stronger civil society that is better able to bring the regime to account.


The prospect of unilateral Israeli military action or strikes aimed at the nuclear sites is regarded with deep scepticism by Ahwazi groups. There is a consensus that unilateral action would be ineffective and that attacks by Israel tend to make its enemies stronger. Hamed al-Kannani points to the 2006 Lebanon War, which “made the terrorist group [Hezbollah] stronger than before.”

The NLMA believes any Israeli strike would be limited and would not lead to the toppling of the regime and therefore would have no positive impact on the liberation of Al-Ahwaz or other non-Persian peoples. It makes a parallel with the Israeli strike on Iraq’s Tammuz nuclear reactor in 1981, which had no impact on the regime itself. It also points out that an Israeli strike would simply escalate the security threats to Israel in the form of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories while Israel has no leverage to threaten the territorial sovereignty of Iran. Moreover, Israeli military action would “lead to a large public outcry in the Muslim world and Iran would be perceived as a hero, which would act in its favour.”

The DSPA shares this sentiment and states that an “Israeli strike would strengthen the regime politically as many Muslim countries in the area will find a religious motive to stand with the Iranian regime.” It believes that “if a military strike is the only solution to get rid of the Iranian regime then it would be better if it were carried out by NATO without Israeli involvement.”

The DSPA states that it would support a full invasion of Iran aimed at regime change in order to overthrow the oppressor of Ahwazi Arabs. The NLMA emphasizes that a decisive and quick war against the regime would be achievable simply by usurping Iranian control of Al-Ahwaz, which contains most of its oil production and therefore its main source of revenue. It believes that independence for Al-Ahwaz would establish peace in the Middle East and worldwide.

BAFS warns that military action comes with significant risks that should be thoroughly assessed along with careful planning of post-war scenarios. It points to the years of chaos following the invasion of Iraq due to an overly optimistic belief that a stable democratic system could be created from nothing and would be immune from corruption, terrorism and foreign intrigue.

Says BAFS: “Any risk assessment needs to be conducted with the involvement of a diversity of civil society groups in Iran. As they live in the most oil-rich and geopolitically sensitive area of Iran, Ahwazi Arabs should be central to any consultation over strategic military planning, particularly if action is aimed at regime change.

"Military action may be initially intended to take out sites involved in the nuclear programme and perhaps some command and control centres. However, any initial strike of any scale carries with it the potential to escalate into an all-out war that will include the unconventional methods Iran and its Hezbollah ally have mastered, including the use of terror cells in Arab and European states and elsewhere. As such, we urge Western military commanders to engage in consultation with Ahwazi human rights and opposition groups to tap their knowledge and support well ahead of any assault.”

Arab engineer facing death under torture in Iran

Industrial engineer and Ahwazi Arab cultural activist Ghazi Haidari is in a critical condition after being tortured at an interrogation centre in Ahwaz City.

Haidari had worked in the petrochemicals industry in Maashour (Mahshahr) and was in charge of contracts at a pipeline company in Ahwaz before he was arrested in May 2009. Aged 39, he is serving a sentence of 10 years and six months in relation to his research into Ahwazi Arab history and writing on the poor social and economic situation of Ahwazi Arabs, activities the Iranian regime regards as a threat to national security.

While at the notorious Karoon prison he was subject to physical and psychological torture and sustained two broken ribs. Over the past two months he has twice been transferred to an interrogation centre run by the Ministry of Intelligence where he has faced more torture and is said to be on the verge of dying from his wounds.

The brutal interrogation of Ghazi Haidari began after secretly filmed video of four Ahwazi Arabs protesting their innocence, accusing the intelligence services of extracting confessions under torture and appealing UN intervention was smuggled out of the prison before their execution. Along with Nazem Beraihi (27) and Yahya Naseri (32), he is accused of assisting with the filming. Beraihi was a student in an Islamic school - Hawza-e-Ilmiya - and was initially sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, but the term was lengthened to life imprisonment. Naseri was arrested in 2005 along with Beraihi and sentenced to life imprisonment. They are also reportedly in Ministry of Intelligence custody undergoing interrogation.

In the year to date, six Ahwazi Arabs have died under torture while in the custody of the intelligence services in Susa (Shoush) Ahwaz, Khalafieh (Khalfabad), Dezful and other cities in the region. None had been charged of any crime, let alone allowed a trial. Such killings are illegal under both Iranian and international law. Iranian is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners (Article 7) and requires that detainees be treated with humanity, respect and dignity (Article 10). Article 38 of the Iranian constitution prohibits torture to extract confessions or information and such confessions are deemed to have no value.

Discrimination against Ahwazi Arabs drives up unemployment, say Majlis members

Arab children are forced to search
through rubbish in oil-rich province
Unemployment is an acute problem in Arab-majority Khuzestan province due to refusal to employ local people in industry, said Majlis member of Abadan Seyed Hussein Dahdashi this week.

Although Abadan, home to one of the world's largest oil refineries, has a high employment capacity, oil company managers are refusing to fulfil a 50% quota for local people, said Dahdashi in an interview with Shooshan News Agency. He accused provincial authorities of not providing Majlis members precise information on the proportion of non-indigenous and indigenous employees in different economic sectors.

Sayed Sharif Hosseini, Ahwaz member in the Majlis, has also criticised discrimination in favour of non-native people from other provinces in Khuzestan's organisations and offices, adding: "Unfortunately, the local recruits quota has been reduced in some organisations. This is not in the province's interests. The most important goal should be to reduce the rate of unemployment and we demand action from the government."

Meanwhile, Majlis member for Shushtar (Tostar) Sadar Ebrahimi claimed that the province's developmental problems are due to the lack of effective, capable and indigenous management.

Ecological catastrophe causing economic havoc in Khuzestan

Khuzestan province is facing an unprecedented ecological crisis that is affecting drinking water and agricultural irrigation, said Majlis member for Ahwaz Sayed Sharif Hosseini this week.

Hosseini is seeking to bring national and international attention to the drought problems that have seen the region's once mighty rivers dwindle to a trickle.

In an interview with the Iranian Students' News Agency, he said: "Khuzestan used to have a third of the country's water resources with five major rivers. Today we are facing a disaster in terms of shortage of clean water and water for agriculture." This has reduced the area covered by farming as well as crop yields and quality. The situation has been worsened by the government's refusal to provide chemical fertilisers to farmers, he claimed.

Hosseini, leader of the Majlis members from Khuzestan, has previously threatened that all 18 deputies from the province would resign if the government completed its plans to divert water from the Karoon River to other parts of the country. The government's plans, already under development, would siphon off 1.1bn cubic metres of water from the province's main rivers to central Iran, a move that Hosseini has said would represent "the death of Khuzestan."

The impact of the water diversion project may have had a role in the massive decline in the production of wheat, a source of animal feed. Iran has this year faced escalating costs for chicken, a major source of protein in the national diet, due to animal feed shortages. This prompted protests throughout Iran during Ramadan. Khuzestan is Iran's second largest wheat-producing province, but has seen wheat output halve this year. Around 62% of the province's wheat production is reliant on irrigation, utilising water from its rivers. According to reports, wheat production has declined by up to half this year, due primarily to water shortages.

The demise of the region's rivers has also had a negative impact on Iraq. A US study in 2009 noted that water flows from Iran to Iraq had fallen dramatically. Around 30 per cent of the Tigris river's water originates from Iran with the bulk of water coming from melt water from the Zagros mountains. It notes: "In Basra province, low river water flows from Karkh River blockages and Karun River diversions have allowed the Arabian Gulf to intrude up to 60 kilometers north of the mouth of the Shatt Al Arab. This highly saline water pollutes water treatment plant intakes and irrigation canals and has interfered with at least one petrochemical plant. Karkh River blockage has also had a devastating effect on the Iraqi side of the Al Huwaza Marsh. Flow that used to exit the Al Huwaza Marsh from the south side and join the Tigris River is nonexistent, and only patches of small stagnant pools of water can be seen from the air ...

"Humanitarian efforts are ongoing in Basra Province to counteract the effects of diminished and ineffective water treatment capabilities due to the high salinity concentrations."

Other major problems highlighted by Hosseini include air pollution, which has increased asthma rates by 17% in the province. Ahwaz City is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the world's most polluted city.

"We are not afraid to execute" - Khuzestan Attorney General

Ahwazi Arabs who join "secessionist" groups are being rounded up and put on trial, but the full extent of the clamp-down is not being publicised, confirmed Farhad Afsharniya, the Ahwaz attorney general.

At a press conference in Ahwaz, Afsharniya stated that the Iranian government was not afraid to execute those regarded as a threat to public security, including "people who join secessionist groups". But he added "we publish only a very limited amount of information about cases in Khuzestan due to general sensitivity" in an indication that the regime fears a popular backlash. The government has funded the installation of CCTV throughout the cities in the restive Arab-majority province in an effort to monitor the population.

In recent weeks, security forces have implemented a clamp-down in Arab neighbourhoods, particularly Zergan in the northeast of Ahwaz City. Dozens of people have been arrested and remain in custody. Afsharniya's hard-line remarks indicate that they could be tried, imprisonment and possibly executed without any public announcement.

While the attorney general stated that "secessionists" would be tried in revolutionary courts with access to a lawyer, human rights monitoring groups note that many who are arrested are summarily executed with six extra judicial killings so far this year and those that face trial have no contact with their lawyers. Public prosecutors have also been present during interrogations in which Ahwazis have been tortured into giving false confessions.

Four Iranian political prisoners appeal to UN Secretary General

Four prominent political prisoners condemned the Iranian government's persistent violation of human rights in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon during his visit to Iran to attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. Heshmat Allah Tabarzadi (leader of the Demoncratic Front of Iran), Afshin Osanloo (brother of a prominent jailed bus union leader), Reza Sharifi Bokani (Kurdish human rights activist) and Khalid Hardani (Ahwazi Arab activist) are being held at the notorious Rajaie Prison in the city of Karaj, Alborz Province. The letter has been translated by the Ahwaz News Agency.

Dear Mr Ban Ki Moon, welcome to Iran

Since ancient times, the Iranian people have been well known for their hospitaity, especially for an uninvited guest like you! Your title as the UN Secretary General unfortunately became the Secretary General of all governments (as we call it traditionally). You are not to be blamed but it is the result of the structure of the organisation.

The countries of this organization are supposed to represent their people, so to avoid any confusion we would like to say that governments such as Iran's do not represent their own people and act against their nation's interest. 

By way of an overview, we would like to state that the majority of Iranian people have never been represented by their government.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has never allowed any opposition political party, even peaceful ones, has never allowed political activism and the leaders and members of opposition political parties have been severely tortured, detained and executed. For example, the Iranian National Front, Iranian Freedom Movement, Iran National Party, the Pan-Iranian Party of Iran, Religious Nationalists, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Democratic Front of Iran, the United Student Front Office, and, during the last three years, Consolidation Office Members, the Mosharekat Party and the Revolutionary Mojahedin Organization.

You arrived in a country which over the past few years has become as big prison for journalists with no newspaper allowed to work independently. It is impossible to name the number of banned newspapers in this country. If you are interested in meeting with independent newspapers and with the persecuted leaders of parties and organisations, who remain in prison right now, would the Iranian regime allow you, Mr Ban Ki Moon, the UN General Secretary, to meet with them?!

Mr Ban Ki Moon, you are in country in which there is no freedom for peaceful demonstrations or political activities that criticise the government's policies. If anyone is caught doing so, they will be accused as being Mohareb (against God) and of disrupting national security and consequently suppressed, detained and executed.

You are in a country where no individual or party is allowed to choose their candidate in a general election, apart from those appointed by the government. Only candidates belonging to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah), the Intelligence Ministry (Etelaat), Judiciary, Basij and finally the Guardian Council can be allowed to participate as candidates.

You are in a country where ethnic and religious minorities are not allowed to use their legal rights, as stated in the constitution, and are not welcomed and supported by the government, and due to the government's persecution of their beliefs, they are detained, tortured for years and finally executed.

You are in a country where women are denied the same rights as men, and women have no right to serve as prime minister or a judge.

In this country, religious, ethnic, and gender oppression, and amputation and stoning, are all legal.

Mr Ban Ki Moon you are in a country where there are no human rights, as set down by the UN, and the supreme leader is Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei pretends he is an Islamic cleric who supports poor people in Palestine, Iraq and Bahrain, and shows his sympathy with people in the world. He sees himself representative of God on Earth and has the full power to do anything to those who oppose him. 
He has used billions of dollars from oil exports to strengthen security forces loyal to him and destroys critics that oppose him.

Mr Ban Ki Moon you’re the guest of this theocratic dictatorship. Do you come here to ask him to be faithful to the international law of human rights, or want to legitimatise killing more political activists?!

In this country, poverty, inflation, unemployment, discrimination and corruption are rife. Every year, thousands of workers have lost their jobs, factories have closed and companies have gone bankrupt. Iranian people are forced to accept and tolerate the economic effects of a corrupt totalitarian government, mismanagement and international sanctions against the government. And nobody is allowed to criticise corruption because they are oppressed.

The entire world watched the government's brutal crackdown of the Green Movement three years ago. Did you see it?

To be frank with you the Iranian people are not expecting you to criticize the regime's inhumanity! Because if you did so you would not accept the invitation to this conference.

Mr Ban Ki Moon, there is no need to explain the Iranian regime to you, because during the last three decades it has been involved in national and international crimes such as sponsoring terrorism around the world, supported by Iran and its allies North Korea and Syria, which are also examples of undemocratic and criminal governments.

Secretary General, you have been asked by civilised countries to visit Iran to warn the regime about the nuclear programme. These countries are concerned about their security and stability. But the main victims of the regime's national and international policies are the Iranian people. On one hand, the regime has deprived them of all their rights and the country has became a big prison. On the other hand, the Iranian people are forced to pay for the negative consequences of the huge costs of the nuclear programme.

Billions of dollars in oil sales are diverted from investing in the country and its public services into spending on  investment in the nuclear programme. Also the international economic sanctions affect mainly the Iranian people. If countries such as Israel attack Iran, which we oppose, they will attack and destroy Iranian capital and investment which could support the country's young people.

So, the Iranian people will bear the costs, not the regime!

At the end, Mr Ban Ki Moon you are welcome in Iran and we would like to say that one day the Iranian people will stand up again, and will have a constitution following all the principles of democracy, human rights and international law, free from international isolation and playing a constructive role for peace and freedom in the world. The Iranian people do not have any conflict or enmity with any nations or governments.

Heshmat Allah Tabarzadi
Afshin Asonloo
Reza Sharifi Bokani
Khalid Hardani

Rajaie Prison, city of Karaj, Row 12, Room 4

Khuzestan prisons at three times capacity

The over-crowding problem in Khuzestan's jails has been thrown into the spotlight again after the head of the province's prison organisation revealed that there were three times more prisoners than official capacity.

Reza Poostchi has admitted that more than 15,000 inmates in Khuzestan, far higher than the maximum 5,000-6,000 the prisons are designed to hold.

The over-crowding problem comes amid a massive clamp-down on dissent among Ahwazi Arabs in the region. Concern has also grown over the poor conditions facing prisoners, particularly those held for political offences who are often the subject of torture and human rights violations.

Karoon prison, the largest prison in the province, has a security and political section that holds the largest number of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners in Iran. The section is cramped with only five toilets shared by more than 300 prisoners of whom around 100 are political prisoners and the rest are dangerous gangsters and drug addicts. The section is over-capacity and many inmates are forced to live and sleep in the toilet areas and corridors. The prison is under the control of the IRGC with prison officials selected from the IRGC. There is a close relationship between Karoon Prison and secret detention facilities run by the Ministry of Intelligence.

There is a lack of access to clean water and prisoners are forced to buy drinking water from guards. Inmates suffer malnutrition caused by inadequate calorific value and no vegetables and fruit as well as food-borne diseases caused by unsanitary preparation. Medical care is insufficient and there is a shortage of medicine. There are routine incidents of physical abuse and theft by guards during inspections.

Solitary confinement is a regular practice to punish prisoners and extract confessions. Iran Briefing states: "There are specials cells at the Karoon prison where political prisoners are psychologically and physically tortured; they are hung upside down and beaten with batons while blindfolded and restrained."

Visitors also complain of abusive treatment by prison officials, including undignified bodily searches. Some family members are refused access to prisoners if they wear traditional Arabic dress. Depriving prisoners of family visits and telephone calls is used as a form of punishment.

Killing Arabs on the pretext of patriotism

By Nori Hamza, an Ahwazi Arab writer from Susa

Translated from an article on the Iran Global website

We often hear news of the execution and imprisonment of cultural, social, human rights, and political Arab activists. In many cases the families are not aware of effectiveness of reporting the news. Sometimes they are threatened into silence by the intelligence services or given false promises that their sons will be released, only to inform them later of executions.

There are many arrestees who have disappeared. For example, the Ahwazi Arab Yousef Silawi, brother-in-law of the late Mansour Silawi, the founder of the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz. Yousef Silawi was abducted in 2010 from near his home in Chahar-shir, Ahwaz. Since 2010, his family have kept quiet because intelligence agents have promised to find him. It has been over two years since Yousef's abduction by unknown soldiers [of Imam Mahdi] and his family has no clue of his whereabouts.

We also know of six Ahwazi Arab political and human rights activists who have been murdered this year - Mohammad Kaabi, Alireza Ghobaishawi, Ghaiban Obidawi, Mohammad Cheldawi, Nasser Albo Shokeh and Reza Maghmesi - who were killed while being held in prisons run by the intelligence services in Shoush, Khalaffiya (Khalfabad), Ahwaz and Dezful.

In the Al-Ahwaz region, security forces consider any 'Arab' as a threat, a danger and an enemy and can be targeted on the basis of any suspicion. I will give you few evidences to prove my point.

Two weeks ago, four Ahwazi Arabs were shot dead at the Shatt al-Arab waterway by security forces. This dreadful incident has occurred when security forces became suspicious near a village close to Shatt al-Arab, where security forces opened fire and killed all four, including Abdullah Assakerh.

In another incident, two Ahwazi Arab farmers - Seyed Mousa Fazeli (41) and Seyed Ali Fazeli (34) - were shot dead by security services in Abdulkhan, 30km from Shush city, while protesting against the confiscation of their lands by the regime. They argued with the police after being stopped while visiting their land. Although they had no weapons, they were shot dead by a high-ranking police officer.

Before this incident in the same area, another Ahwazi Arab, Hassan Latifi, was stopped by police and accused of theft. Although he offered no verbal or physical resistance, he was shot dead by a police officer named Seyah Mansour.

In Kut-Abdullah, Ahwaz City, on May 26 Hussein Mayahi, son of Hamed, argued with police when he ignored their order to stop. He was shot, injured and arrested, but the police lieutenant shot him dead.

These are only recent examples of incidence that I am aware of, although there are many more similar incidents in Arab areas.

The question is: why does the regime treat political, human rights, cultural activists and even social criminals severely and barbarically? In answer, we have to note and analyse two main issues that caused these incidents: the killing of Arab activists by the regime's murderers and the proliferation of the regime's murders as more and more protest against the killings.

In regards to killing Ahwazi Arab civil activists, before and after the revolution we can note the execution of Mehyee Al Nasser, Dehrab Shomeili and Issa Nassari. We can also note the Mohammareh massacre of 1979 by Ahmad Madani, a member of Iranian National Front and [Khuzestan] provincial governor at the time with direct assistance of Mohammad Ali Jahan-ara, the chief of Mohammerah Revolutionary guards (also claimed to be a member of Mujaheddin), Mohammereh Jumeh prayer leader Seyed Abol-hassan Nuri, Abadan Jumeh prayer leader Gholamhussein Jami, Khomeini's representatives in the province Abul-ghasem Khazali and Ahamd Janati, Ahwaz Jumeh prayer leader Imam Seyed Mohammad Ali Mossavi Jazayeri, the head of the provincial justice department Seyed Ali Shafiee and Mohsen Iraqi, known as Araki, who was the Khomeinist leader in Dezful and later Khamenei’s representative at the Islamic Centre of England in London.

We can also look at the group executions of Arab activists at the beginning of revolution throughout the regime which can help us to understand the issue, but in this article I will analyse the main issue.

In regards to the question of why the regime is killing Arab activists, the main reason is the persecution of Arabs as a result of institutionalised racism in Iranian society and systematic Anti-Arabism by Iranian elites. We have to analyse the formation of modern Iran its the education system provides the justification for these murders. The silence of cultural and legal organisations and Persian news agencies that are being funded by countries such as USA, the UK and Germany is related to this ideological Anti-Arabism.

The Iranian mentality is wedded to Anti-Arabism due to the Iranian education system which explicitly depicts Arabs as enemies. As proof, you only need to visit Iranian Anti-Arab groups on social networks such as Facebook. As a result, Iranians do not show any solidarity with Ahwazi Arab activists who are murdered, but actually oppose any news coverage in regards to executions or demonstrations in Arab areas.

Some of these people criticise news publications that simply mention Ahwazi Arabs. These people attack any independent human right activists who write something in support of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners and support them. For example, Ms. Shadi Sadr [Justice for Iran] has come under attack from leftists, nationalists and pan-Iranists. It is interesting that all of them repeat the regime's line of prioritising state integrity and protecting the regime over the right to life and liberty.

Some other factors also need to be discussed which helped in formation of the Anti-Arab mindset, such as the defeat of the Sassanid empire by Arabs 14 centuries ago, the faking of many historical facts, the notion of Iranian national superiority, the legacy of Anti-Arab stories, novels, poems and speeches over the past eight decades, etc.

Another issue is the Arab people's insistence on pursuing their demands as victims in this unequal conflict.  As an Arab who is part this nation, lived my life among Arabs and, through my human rights activism, knows the political psychology of the Ahwazi Arab people, I believe that the Ahwazi mindset and their national awakening has surged in recent years. Unlike everywhere else in Iran where people are being forced into silence, in the Arab cities and villages people are heroically going into the streets and being killed for the sake of freedom from slavery.

We conclude that the Islamic Republic government and successive governments before that have confronted Ahwazi Arab people with Anti-Arabism, the force of arms and racism. This practice has continued even after the revolution. This is the reason why most people of Al-Ahwaz believe that while they have been defeated over the past nine decades, they are now prepared to fight nine more decades to gain their right of self-determination and their national demands.

In the racist camp there are two groups: one that in the name of the Islamic regime and patriotism is killing Arabs and the other the regime's opposition. The opposition is imbued with Anti-Arabism and racism. In near future the confluence of regional and international political conflicts, Iranian racism and the Arab people's pursuit of self-determination will feed the thirsty Karoon River with its own children's blood.

Eleven Ahwazi Prisoners Face Torture by Intelligence Services

Eleven Ahwazi Arab political prisoners being held in Karoon Prison in Ahwaz have been transferred to the custody of the Iranian intelligence services for further interrogation, according to the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz (ASMLA).

Despite the breach of legal procedures, the 11 political activists from the city of Al-Hamidiya were moved to secret detention facilities operated by the Ministry of Intelligence for unknown reasons on August 29. They have been named as:

  • Idan Abdulkazem al-Shakhi (Beit Sayyah)
  • Adnan Ali Saedi
  • Reza Nazal Obeidawi
  • Jawad Batrani
  • Jalil Naami
  • Jasem Ghlais Obeidawi
  • Khaled Jomaa Hassan Obeidawi
  • Hassan Jalaw Abbiyat
  • Hassan Rashed Manabi
  • Moustafa Sabah Koti

The detainees have been convicted on trumped up charges of 'enmity with God', a crime that is often used to convict critics of the Iranian regime. Some of the detainees - Idan Beit Sayyah, Khaled Obeidawi and Hassan Abbiyat - were shown on Iran Press TV giving false confessions following months of torture in the custody of the Iranian intelligence services.

Four Ahwazi Freedom Fighters Killed in Shatt al-Arab Battle

Nezar Abdullah Asakareh Driss
A group of four Ahwazi Arab freedom fighters were killed after being shot at by security forces on August 14 near the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which marks the border with Iraq, according to the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz (ASMLA).

The group had been pursued for three years by Iranian security forces before the confrontation, which lasted several hours. The freedom fighters included Nezar Abdullah Asakareh Driss from Fallahiyah in Owshar district, married with three children and former resident of Dubai, and Hanash Bawi.

The bodies of the other two men have yet to be identified. Identification of the men was complicated by the decomposition of the bodies, which were left in the Shatt al-Arab for several days. Asakareh's family members say they identified him by his tattoos and claimed he had seven bullet wounds.