Ahwaz: No Tolerance for Repulsive Behavior and Oppression
Editorial by Karim Abdian - The Washington Post - October 4, 2004
The Sept. 20 editorial "The Choice on Iran," while correctly describing
Iran as "home to a militant Islamic regime that openly sponsors terrorism,
foments anti-American resistance to Iraq and has confessed to a secret campaign
to acquire the technology needed to produce nuclear weapon," did not
mention that the regime also is engaged in ethnic cleansing and forced relocation.
Twenty-five million Azerbaijani Turks cannot study their own language or have local representative government, and they are demonized in Iran's media.
The 4.5 million indigenous Ahwazi Arabs in the southwestern province of Khuzestan are being forcibly relocated and live in poverty even though their ancestral lands produce more than 80 percent of the country's oil revenue. They do not have local representative government and are not allowed to study and speak their native tongues; no part of the oil revenue is being allocated to their area.
Eight million Kurds are being kept economically and socially backward; they also are not allowed to study their mother tongues, and their local officials are appointed by Tehran.
The same applies to 3 million Baluchis in the southeast province of Balochistan and more than 2 million Turkmen in the northeast province of Golestan. Like Kurds, Baluchis and Turkmen are Sunnis who cannot have their own mosques.
To a lesser degree, other religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities such
as Lors, Armenians, Assyrians, Bahais and Jews are being subjected to the
same oppression. This is not to mention the obvious oppression against women.
Moreover, the Iranian regime does not represent the democratic aspirations
of the dominant Persian population.