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Iran responds to Al-Azhar conference with anti-Arab repression

The January conference at Al-Azhar
expressed solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs
Iranian police and the intelligence service have begun a campaign of arrests of Arab activists across Al-Ahwaz following a conference at Egypt's Al-Azhar University which called for self-determination for indigenous Ahwazi Arabs.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently visited the Al-Azhar mosque in order to establish Iranian leadership in the Muslim world and play down growing Egyptian solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs. He was instead publicly humiliated when Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb told him to respect Iran's Sunni population and to give Ahwazi Arabs their full rights as citizens. 

The Iranian regime is reportedly annoyed over the pro-Ahwazi sentiments expressed by officials and Sunni leaders at Al-Azhar and is taking revenge against Ahwazi Arab activists.

The Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA), which is run in exile, reported that around 30 people are being held in custody for political crimes. The reasons for the arrests are unknown, but the DSPA believes they may be connected to a call on Facebook for a peaceful demonstration against the execution of five Ahwazi activists. One Ahwazi blog claims that those arrested are mostly involved in Arabic poetry recitals, which are commonly used to express political dissent, and has named those detained in Malashiyaa shanty town of Ahwaz City, as:
  • Abdullah Silawi
  • Mohammad Bawi
  • Jawad Badawi, son of Jalil
  • Habib Koroshat
  • Majedd Hashemi, son of Obaied
  • Sadogh Badawi
  • Tofigh Sarkhi
  • Salem Daghagheleh Zadeghan
  • Nawaf Hamodi
  • Hossien Hamodi
  • Hakim Khasraji, 21 years old
  • Khairullah Mansouri (Mazrae)
  • Naji Bozar (Silawi), son of Hamid, 19 years old
  • Yousef Zehiri, son of Yaghob
  • Sajad Badawi, son of Hossien
  • Khali Marwani (Khasraji), son of Mohsen, 22 years old

In Khalafiya, Saeed Asakereh, 37 years old, was arrested on 26 January by the intelligence services and taken to unknown place. His family have not received any news of his whereabouts and are deeply concerned for him due to existing health problems. On 8 February, the regime arrested the Ahwazi activist Habib Korashat, a 30 year old married man with one child, in Malashiya.