Friday, February 16, 2007

Tehran's secret war against its own people

Sixteen Arab rights activists have been sentenced to death, according to reports in the Iranian media. They were found guilty of insurgency in secret trials before revolutionary courts. But most of the defendants were convicted solely on the basis of confessions extracted under torture. Ten are expected to be hanged in a couple of weeks, after the end of Ramadan. Amnesty International says that two of those sentenced to die, Abdolreza Nawaseri and Nazem Bureihi, were in prison when they were alleged to have been involved in bomb attacks. Three others — Hamza Sawa- eri, Jafar Sawari and Reisan Sawari — say that they were nowhere near the Zergan oilfield the day it was bombed.


Tehran’s latest tactic is to hold Ahwazi children as hostages. According to Amnesty International, children as young as 2 have been jailed with their mothers to force their fugitive, political-activist fathers to surrender to the police. Protests against these abuses are brutally suppressed. Ahwazi political parties, trade unions and student groups are illegal. In the past year, 25,000 Ahwazis have been arrested, 131 executed and 150 have disappeared, reports AHRO. The bodies of many of those executed have been dumped in a place that the Government calls lanat abad, the place of the damned. They are buried in shallow graves; dogs dig up and eat the bodies.

Nearly 250,000 Arabs have been displaced from their villages after the Iranian Government’s confiscation of more than 200,000 hectares of farmland for a huge sugar-cane project. Dozens more towns and villages will be erased, making a possible further 400,000 Ahwazis homeless, by the creation of a military-industrial security zone, covering more than 3,000 sq km, along the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which borders Iraq.

Ironically, the Hezbollah in Lebanon — the supposed embodiment of Arab resistance in the Middle East — is complicit in the displacement of Ahwazi Arabs. On confiscated Arab land Tehran has set up training camps for Hezbollah and for the Badr Brigades, the Iraqi fundamentalist militia. Badr death squads in Iraq are murdering Sunnis, unveiled women, gay people, men wearing shorts, barbers, sellers of alcohol and people listening to Western music.
Tehran has a grand plan to make the Ahwazi a minority in their own land through “ethnic restructuring”. Financial incentives, such as zero- interest loans, are given to ethnic Persians to settle in Ahwaz. New townships are planned, which will house 500,000 non-Arabs. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of displaced Ahwazis eke out a subsistence existence in shanty towns on the outskirts of Ahwaz city. Others have been forcibly relocated to poverty-stricken, far-flung northern regions of Iran.

Ahwaz produces 90 per cent of Iran’s oil and Tehran expropriates all the revenues. An attempt by Ahwaz MPs to secure the repatriation of 1.5 per cent of these earnings back to the region for welfare projects was rejected this year. Yet it is the third poorest region of Iran: 80 per cent of the children suffer from malnutrition, and the unemployment rate of Arabs is more than five times that of Persians.


gholi said...

1050 kurdish teachers in Iran's Kurdistan are fired from their jobs. The leftists are too busy with hatefully accusing Israel of Apartaid that they can't see what Iranian Aparthid is doing to its kurdish and other minority people. The leftists in the West are the ones destroying Iran, and its people.

SERENDIP said...

Absoultely gholi. What they have done to the kurds is abominable. Kurds are some of the nicest people on earth and my wish for them is to have their own independent country one day.

gholi said...

Thanks for saying Kurds are nice people, for I am one. But independece dosn't seem the best thing. Long story ...