Iran has arrested 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 them.
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 Mohammareh (Khorramshar in Persian) have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.