By Rahim Hamid, Ahwazi Arab rights activist
The Ahwaz region in the south and southwest of Iran is currently witnessing a campaign of severe oppression enforced by the Iranian regime. Amid a complete media blackout, the regime has been arbitrarily arresting Arab political and cultural activists in Ahwaz. This Tuesday, the Ahwazi diaspora and their supporters demonstrated in front of the Iranian regime Consulate in Hamburg Germany for "Ahwazi Martyr day".
This day not only serves as a time where people come together to condemn crimes committed by the Iranian regime in occupied Ahwaz but also to commemorate the 53rd year since three of the most important symbols of Ahwazi struggle were martyred. On this day in 1964, the SAVAK intelligence service of the Mohammad Reza Shah regime executed three Ahwazi leaders – Mohiuddin Nasser, Dohrab Nasseri, and Isa Nasseri – on charges of forming a political organization which sought to liberate Ahwaz from Iranian occupation and restore national sovereignty of the region to the Arab people.
The demonstration in Germany, organized by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization, was attended by a large number of Ahwazi Arabs, as well as German and Syrian allies. Attendees read prepared statements, chanted slogans, and displayed photos of Ahwazis murdered by the regime alongside provocative protest signs in a variety of languages. The protesters rose their voices together, chanting in Arabic "We defend our heritage and culture – past and present! We stand against all campaigns of distortion and destruction led by the Iranian regime!"
The protesters called on the European Union to issue laws and legislation that would hold the Iranian regime accountable for their years of abominable human rights violations against the Ahwazi Arab people.
The Ahwaz Human Rights Organization has stated that the purpose of this demonstration was to denounce the continued crimes committed by Iran against the Ahwazi Arab people – since the mid-century era of Reza Shah up until the current regime of Ayatollah Khomeini.
To this day, any Arab brave enough to speak out about such injustice and oppression is at very real risk to receive the death penalty. The organization, therefore, called upon all human rights institutions, activists, and allies to expose and denounce human rights abuses perpetrated against Ahwazi Arabs.
The Ahwazi Human Rights Organization also asked that those with a vested interest in Ahwazi Human rights should put pressure on Iran to stop issuing death penalties for activism and release Ahwazi activists from prison unconditionally. The organization additionally stated that an international commission of inquiry should be established in order to create an objective assessment of the dire humanitarian situation of and crimes committed against the Arab people of Ahwaz.
For years the Iranian regime has continuously violated Ahwazi Arab human rights in the region via population displacement, demographic manipulation, cultural repression, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, executions for any peaceful cultural and political activism, as well as the drying of life-sustaining rivers via construction of dams and water rerouting.