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.