BAFS EDITOR Sunday, December 11, 2016
Iran Arrests a Journalist and an Environmental Activist in Al-Ahwaz during a week-long demonstration against diversion of Karoon river that was held in both Ahwaz and Muhammerah.
Iranian security forces arrested two activists in Muhammerah -- the journalist Rahil Mosavi and environmental activist Roqaya Jafari who directly participated in the demonstrations against the transfer of Karoon river. They have been transferred to the Department of Intelligence in the city and have not been released till now.
According to news from inside Ahwaz and confirmed by AHRO,Roqaya Jafari was arrested at her home by intelligence forces after the end of the demonstration last Thursday. She has been charged for criticising Rohani’s letter about the water transfer and her actions have resulted in the issue of a security file, leading to Ms.Jafari's arrest for 4 consecutive days by the Intelligence Services.
Ms.Rahil Mosavi, on the other hand, is a photographer and journalist and civil activist who was verbally insulted and pushed by the security forces while she took photos of the demonstration in Muhammerah.Her left arm was injured as security tried to take her camera and eventually she was pushed into their car by force and driven away.
Demonstrators in Ahwaz and Muhammerah have criticised the leaked letter from Rouhani’s administration in which an order is given to transfer water from the Karoon river to cities such as Yazd, Isfahan Kerman and Rafsanjan, while the inhabitants of Ahwaz and Muhammerah and many other cities in the southwest region continue to suffer from lack of water for drinking and farming.
In the backdrop of these demonstrations, Iranian intelligence also called on many local civil and environmental activists for interrogation in order to intimidate and silence the public. The activists are questioned for organising and inviting people to demonstrate against the water transfer actions evident from the government's leaked document. Mr.Masoud Kanani is one of these environmental activists who has been accused in similar circumstances.
While Ahwazi MPs have drawn attention to Rouhani about the Karoon issue and demonstrations are rife in Ahwaz, a conference organised by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) brought together a multi-disciplinary team of experts who are seeking sustainable solutions to the ecological disaster unfolding in Iran. The panel comprised of scientists, engineers and human rights activists discussed Iran's ongoing efforts to dam the rivers of the Ahwaz region and the disastrous effects of pollution.
The solution to such unrest is important at a time when Rouhani has issued calls for a national solidarity among ethnic minorities. As Khuzestan's Arab minorities are being affected by the river water diversion, any dialogue on the environment should be seen as a top priority. Hence the power of Intelligence forces to intimidate activists and suspect foreign agendas will make Rouhani and his team's nation-building efforts appear as double standards.