Iran/EU: Massive Ahwazi demonstration in Brussels commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Iranian occupation of Al-Ahwaz
On Friday 17-04-2015, a massive demonstration was held in front of the European Parliament buildings in Brussels to commemorate both the 10th anniversary of the Ahwazi popular uprising of April 2005 and the 90th anniversary of the Iranian occupation of Al-Ahwaz (subsequently renamed ‘Khuzestan’) in 1925.
The demonstration, in solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs living under brutal and oppressive Iranian occupation, condemned the persistent systemic brutality and injustice against Ahwazi Arab peoples in the south and southwest of Iran.
Members of the EU’s Ahwazi community held this demonstration to condemn Iranian occupation and raise the long-oppressed voice of Ahwazi Arabs, who have suffered the most savage and racist persecution by consecutive Iranian regimes for 90 years to date with the complicity of the ‘international community’.
The protest in Brussels was one of series of demonstrations and other activities undertaken by the Arab Struggle for the Liberation of Ahwaz in a bid to expose the abhorrent apartheid policies of the occupying Iranian regime.
In addition, the demonstrations and other events will allow the world to hear the voices of the millions of Ahwazi Arabs who have been subjected to the brutal state policies of the Iranian occupiers for almost a century.
Hundreds of Ahwazis and Syrians took part in the demonstration. There was a significant presence of members of several Arab communities in the diaspora including Palestinians, Iraqis, Yemenis and Lebanese, who came from different European countries. In addition, distinguished media figures, and human rights advocates came from Arab Gulf states, and other nations were there to express solidarity with the Ahwazi cause.
Representatives of other non-Persian communities residing in Europe who are also subjected to similar persecution, Turks from South Azerbaijan, Kurds from East Kurdistan and Baluchis from Baluchistan took part in the demonstration.
These representatives were there to denounce the Iranian regime for its criminal and barbaric policies, such as the cold-blooded murder and ethnic cleansing of their peoples.
They condemned the Iranian state’s mass executions, which is on an industrial, level against activists, not only from these groups, but also against their Ahwazi counterparts.
During the demonstration in Brussels, participants raised the Ahwaz national flag and the flags of the liberation movements.
Photographs of Ahwazi martyrs and prisoners were exhibited, and numerous banners in Arabic and English denounced the Iranian regime's continued policies of forced displacement and policies aimed at changing the demographic structure of Ahwazi Arab areas through the construction of vast settlements exclusively for Persian settlers.
There were also banners condemning the environmental devastation wreaked by the Iranian regime’s policy of diverting the Ahwaz region’s rivers to central areas of Iran by the construction of massive dams, leading to desertification and devastation of large agricultural areas and marshlands in the Ahwaz region and driving countless farmers and fishermen into destitution.
On the margin of the demonstration, the demonstrators stressed on the relevant non-Persian political organizations including Turkish, Kurdish and Baluchis alongside Ahwazi liberationist movements to increase the level of mutual coordination and to galvanize joint action in the struggle against the Iranian occupying regime until the entire realization of their just demands and the fall of the Safavid-Persian centralized government.
Across the Ahwaz region the Iranian regime in the few last weeks launched a pre-emptive campaign of raids and arbitrary arrests of Ahwazi activists and civic leaders aimed at terrorizing the people into silence and prevent demonstrations from taking place as the anniversary of the 2005 Uprising approached.
On April 15th, 2005, thousands of Ahwazi Arabs defied the hereditary totalitarian Iranian regime and took to the streets in towns and cities across the region, to peacefully protest at Tehran’s ethnic cleansing policies in the Al-Ahwaz region.
The peaceful intifada (uprising) was initially very successful, but the regime soon reacted with its customary savagery, sending in security forces who killed over 100 of the unarmed protesters and arresting thousands more.
The bodies of many of the detainees had to be retrieved from rivers where they had been thrown by the regime’s security forces after being tortured to death. Many others were executed after being found guilty on false charges such as “waging war against God”.
Those executed on these patently ludicrous charges included activists Ali Chebeishat and Sayed Khaled Mousavi, and two high school teachers, Hashem Shabani, and Hadi Rashedi,
The Iranian occupiers continue to deny officially Arab sovereignty in Al-Ahwaz, which was declared an Iranian province in 1925: 11 years later in 1936, the then-rulers in Tehran changed its name to 'Khuzestan'.
This occupation, like others in the region, was perpetrated with the full support of the then-British Empire, which sought to control the region’s oil resources - Ahwaz holds around 80 percent of 'Iran's' oil and gas resources.
Successive Iranian rulers, both under the Shah and under the current clerical regime, have imposed brutal and abusive occupation on the region, subjecting Ahwazi Arab people to the most savage racist repression and injustice and denying them all rights.
In April every year, Ahwazi activists in the homeland and worldwide hold demonstrations, vigils, and seminars, to mark the anniversary of the occupation and theft of their lands.
Executions of arrested Arab protesters and anyone accused of inciting protest are routinely perpetrated. Ahwazi Arab political prisoners are routinely subjected to unspeakable torture and rape by interrogators, as well as extra-judicial killings.
Ahwaz City has some of the most notorious prisons in Iran, a state renowned for torture and extra-judicial killings. Secret security facilities are deployed to extract fabricated confessions.
The majority of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners are incarcerated only for demanding their right to basic cultural, linguistic, civil and human rights, and in response are subjected to summary trials in secret revolutionary court, lasting less than 5 minutes and without access to defense lawyers. Often they are sentenced to the death penalty.
The Iranian authorities subject Ahwazi Arab detainees to every form of inhuman torture, forcing them to sign false confessions of committing illegal activities.
Although Article 38 of the Iranian Constitution supposedly prohibits any kind of torture in order to extract forced confessions. The false confessions obtained under torture are routinely broadcast on national TV even before the end of their kangaroo trials and are used as credible evidence in Iranian courts.
These broadcasts themselves breach Iran’s obligations under international law to provide a fair trial, including the presumption of considering defendant innocent until proven guilty under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the regime is consistent in violating all human rights principles.
The Ahwazi Arabs in recent months have been adversely affected by the environmental consequences of the Iranian government’s colonial river diversion projects, widespread sugar cane farming appeared after extensive confiscation of Ahwazi Arab farmer lands, and industrial pollution and all are part of the regime’s misguided economic development policies targeting Ahwazis and their environment.
The Iranian occupying regime is seeking clear objectives in Al-Ahwaz which is eradicating Ahwazi Arab existence once and for all thus international silence toward the regime’s crimes implies approval.
The international community must intervene unconditionally to stop the Iranian regime’s campaign of genocide: the relentless waves of executions, torture and destruction of basic human and civil rights, the destruction of the environment and the annihilation of the culture, identity and existence of an entire Arab nation.
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Name: Rahim Hamid