Soccer Riots Reflect Discontent among Iran's Arab Minority

(Eurasia Review) James M. Dorsey - Long-simmering discontent in Ahwaz, the predominantly ethnic Arab capital of Iran's Khuzestan province, exploded in March during a soccer match between the state-owned Foolad FC and Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia. Soccer fans defiantly expressed support for Al Hilal during the match and burnt pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Scores were arrested as fans fought police near the stadium for three hours after the match. Habib Jaber Al-Ahvazi, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), said the soccer protest was part of an "ongoing confrontation between demonstrators and the forces of the Persian occupation." The writer is a senior fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

2015-04-02 00:00:00

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