Gunmen from the military wing of the Arab separatist movement in Ahwaz in Iran targeted the main regional military base for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Ghizaniya region on Monday as senior IRGC officers met there to discuss the security details for the funeral of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani scheduled for the next day. A number of Iranian regime military personnel were reportedly wounded in the operation, although no details have been released by the Iranian regime.
The attack by the military wing of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), the Martyr Mohiyuddin al-Nasser Brigades, came only six days after they carried out an operation that destroyed two major oil pipelines in the region belonging to state-owned oil companies.
A senior officer with the Martyr Mohiyuddin al-Nasser Brigades said that his men had launched the attack on the IRGC base in Agheizanah, to the east of the regional capital Ahwaz on Tuesday afternoon after receiving information about a meeting of senior IRGC officials there to discuss security plans for the state funeral of the former president, who died of a heart attack on Sunday aged 82.
Speaking on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, the senior fighter added that his forces had engaged in heavy clashes with IRGC forces during the operation, leading to a number of injuries among the IRGC personnel, with the resistance fighters using Kalashnikov automatic rifles in their attack on the base, which is the IRGC’s principal logistics center in the region.
Eyewitnesses reported that dozens of regime security vehicles and ambulances rushed to the scene to ferry injured IRGC personnel to local hospitals, with regime security forces quickly cordoning off the base and erecting security and military checkpoints to search the vehicles of local Arab peoples entering or leaving the surrounding area.
Habib Esewed, the ASMLA’s Vice President, confirmed that Monday’s operation was carried out as part of the group’s new strategy for 2017, adding that the regime’s brutal occupation, oppression and injustices against the indigenous Ahwazi people of the region and its denial of Ahwazis’ rights and refusal to listen to the people’s grievances left them with no option.
The senior official said that Monday’s operation was part of the stepped-up campaign of resistance operations promised in a statement issued by the group following last week’s operation against major oil pipelines in eastern and central Ahwaz, which took place just after the regime announced the signing of 29 new contracts with international oil and gas companies.
Over 90 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran are located in the Ahwaz region, renamed Khuzestan by Iran. The senior ASMLA official vowed that the group would be increasing the number and range of its attacks against regime facilities in protest at the regime’s relentless brutality and racism towards the indigenous Arab people of the region, adding that the current situation in the region and decades of savage regime injustices against its people have made Ahwaz an “incubator for resistance”, with its network growing faster than ever before.