Iran's riot police attacks Ahwazi Arab protesters
in Qalat Chanan village, 12 km southwest Ahwaz city centre. People were
protesting against the arrest of Ahmad Hazbawi an Ahwazi poet, on the 8 April 2015.
Masked riot police used tear gas and fired live
ammunition into the air before arresting several people.
Ahmad Sabhan Al Hazbawi for saying a poem supporting the Operation Decisive
Storm, a coalition of ten countries participating in the war against the Houthi
movement in Yemen. He was arrested at his perfume shop in Kut
Abdullah town near Ahwaz. Sources and eyewitnesses have confirmed seeing
masked officers, believed to be from the Intelligence service, beating and
dragging him to the ground from his shop to a vehicle.
The arrest took place after the poet and jubilant
crowd, mainly youth,appeared in a video on 27 March 2015 expressing support for
the operation and the King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The poem says:
Greeting from beloved Ahwazi to king Salman, Who United the grandsons of Arabs
in the Decisive Storm of Cousins. The fighter gets of glory appeared over the
Houthis of Darkness”.
The video has been widely shared by Arabic media in
the middle east as well as facebook and twitter.
Iran has previously assassinated and executed
Ahwazi poets merely for their poetry and cultural activities.
In February 2014 Iran caused an international
outcry when it executed the Ahwazi poet Hasem Shaabani and his fellow Al-Hiwar
member and teacher Hadi Rashedi.
In November 2014 Iran detained and poisoned the
Arab poet Sattar Sayahi (Abu Soror) to prevent him from involvement in a
variety of Arab cultural activities.
Ahwazis have always used poetry gatherings to
express their Arabic identity and resist Iran’s apartheid policies towards
Many Ahwazi Arabs, unlike Iranian government, have
proudly hailed and welcomed the Operation as a right move to bring stability
and peace back to Yemen and Yemenis.
Ahwazi Arabs have long suffered from extreme
oppression and apartheid policies at the hand of the dominant Persian minority
in Tehran. Despite their rich and lucrative homeland, the region has been kept
underdevelopment with Ahwazi Arabs do not even have access to the utmost basic
human needs such as healthy drinking water and air. Unemployment, illiteracy,
health issues such as cancer and respiratory, child malnutrition and poverty
remain the highest among Ahwazi Arabs.
In recent weeks and days, especially after the
self-immolation and death of Younes Asakara, the Iranian security forces have
intensified their crackdown on Ahwazi Arab activists. This week many Arabs,
including at least four 14-16 youth in Ahwaz and Mohammara (Khorramshar in Persian)
have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.