Tehran's Secret War Against Its Arab Minority

[Times-UK] Peter Tatchell - Under the cover of secrecy, the fundamentalist regime in Tehran is waging a sustained, bloody campaign of intimidation and persecution against its Arab minority. These Arabs believe that they are victims of "ethnic cleansing" by Iran's Persian majority. Sixteen Arab rights activists have been sentenced to death, according to reports in the Iranian media, found guilty of insurgency in secret trials before revolutionary courts. Most of the defendants were convicted on the basis of confessions extracted under torture. Ethnic Arabs comprise 70 percent of the population of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, known locally as Ahwaz. In the past year, 25,000 Ahwazis have been arrested, 131 executed, and 150 have disappeared, the Ahwazi Human Rights Organization (AHRO) reports. Nearly 250,000 Arabs have been displaced from their villages, and dozens more towns will be erased by the creation of a military-industrial security zone bordering Iraq, making a possible further 400,000 Ahwazis homeless. Tehran has a grand plan to make the Ahwazi a minority in their own land through "ethnic restructuring." Financial incentives are given to ethnic Persians to settle in Ahwaz and new townships are planned which will house 500,000 non-Arabs.

2006-10-11 01:00:00

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