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Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

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Rouhani competes with Rezaee for Ahwazi Arab vote

Ahwazi Arab tribal sheikhs were invited to an audience with declared bidder for the presidency Hassan Rouhani in Tehran this week, days after rival conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaee addressed Arabs in a bid for their support.

Arab representatives put their demands to Rouhani, including 10 per cent of seats in the cabinet reserved for Arabs. They applauded Rouhani when he appeared to agree and criticised the Ahmadinejad administration for its policies. A key part of Rouhani's platform is a promise to introduce a civil rights charter for the country. One Arab leader told Rouhani: "I can tell you confidently that you are ahead of even Khatami with your speech today. I was a supporter of Khatami 100%, but now I am 1000% a supporter of Hassan Rouhani!"

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "Presidential elections have frequently seen candidates of all regime factions appeal to ethnic votes, indicating the strength of importance of ethnic political identity in Iran.

"Both reformist and conservative candidates have played on Ahwazi Arab concerns and agreed to fulfill their demands. But when in power, they always betray their promises and sustain the campaign of ethnic cleansing, further fuelling the cycle of ethnic unrest and violent repression.

"Until Ahwazi Arabs are allowed to form their own parties and compete in free and fair elections, this cycle will continue and Al-Ahwaz will become a crucible for anti-regime civil unrest. As Al-Ahwaz contains the main source of the regime's oil wealth that sustains its machinery of terror, the Ahwazi Arabs hold the key to regime change in Iran."