Published On: Wed, Apr 16th, 2014

Ahwazis hope social protests will end ‘Iranian occupation’

3000, Members of EU’s Ahwazi Arab community gathered outside European Parliament today to protest against the recent executions of Arab political prisoners.The protesters also condemned Iranian occupation of their land.
Ahwazis voiced their support for the EU parliament call for UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed to enter Iran and assess the human rights situation facing minority groups.

Ahwazi activists announced online that they would start agitating under the name “Ahwazi Day of Fury” to protest the discriminatory practices they suffer at the hand of Iranian authorities.

Sunday, April 20 was marked as the day of the Ahwazi revolution, according to the campaign launched on the social networking Website Facebook and twitter. Among other things, the campaign’s a-media efforts aim at allowing Ahwazi’s to follow Arab countries that call for democracy and political reforms.

The protests will start with all Ahwazis going up to the roofs of houses and chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is Great), said Amjad Taha , member of the European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

“We already set up operations rooms to support the protests in several European and Arab countries, on top of which is Egypt,” he told BMCSR in a phone interview.

Mr. Taha added that developments of the situation will be posted minute-by-minute on the Facebook page and that communication will be established with the leadership of the revolution in Iran.

In a preemptive move, Iranian authorities cut Internet services in the Hay Althwrah neighborhood, known for being the center of protests in the predominantly-Arab Ahwaz province, previously known as Arabstan, in western Iran.

Iranian authorities have also issued several warnings to residents of Ahwaz, the capital of Khuzestan, against taking part in the April 16/20 protests, and called Ahwazis on landlines to tell them that a snipers team was ready to deal with them.

In 2011, Ahwazi revolution operations room said that authorities had arrested activist Jamal al-Sari from the village of Fellahiya outside the city of Ahwaz. The 43-year Sari was last time seen bleeding in the company of security staff in civilian clothes. Iranian authorities deny that Mr. Sari is in their custody.

The revolution is meant to commemorate Bloody Friday, when more than 20 Arab-Iranians were killed, 500 injured, and 250 arrested on April 15, 2005 during protests in the city of Ahwaz.

The Iranian authorities marginalise anyone who is not Persian. Arabs are persecuted in particular due to their geographical position and the diplomatic situation [the Khuzestan region is located on the eastern shores of the Arabian Gulf, not far from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, whose relations with Iran have been tense for several years]

Ahwaz contains over 80% of Iran’s gas and petrol reserves. So why its citizens are the country’s poorest? A family of four from Ahwaz survives on 20 dollars a month, whereas the average salary for an Iranian is between 80 and 90 dollars per month, Amjad Taha told France24 in a phone interview