Ahwazi: Football Match Results in Arrest of Arab Fans
During a football match on 17 March 2015, hundreds of Ahwazis were arrested or injured by Iranian security forces. Some videos uploaded on the internet show the violence of the Iranian security forces. The Iranian authorities allegedly wanted the Ahwazi fans not to be seen, as they were wearing traditional Arab clothes.
Below is an article published by Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation:
The Iranian security forces clashed with the Ahwazi Arab fans following the football match of Saudi Al-hilal against Foolad Ahwaz (Khuzestan) on Tuesday 17 March 2015. Sources from Ahwaz confirmed that the Iranian security forces arrested hundreds and injured tens of fans who were wearing traditional Arab dress. The regime was in fear of Arabs and attempted to hide their Arab identity when the media that came with the Saudi team wanted to cover the news.
The Arab fans attacked the security vehicles when the forces arrested hundreds of their friends and tried to stop taking them for interrogation.
Some witnesses said the demonstrators unfurled the Ahwazi flag in the Ghadir stadium and sloganed "Welcome to the Arab land ", sparking the ire of Iranian security forces.
The Iranian regime calls the football team "Foolad Khuzestan" while native Arabs call it “Foolad Ahwaz” and became as national symbol for the Ahwazi Arabs.
Tens of security forces and vehicles surrounded the stadium hours before the match started and many CCTV’s were operating to capture fans who wear traditional Arab dress or slogan in Arabic.
Meanwhile the Iranian Intelligence Services arrested two Ahwazi Arab bloggers, Shahab Mosawi and Majid Kaabi and were taken to unknown places. The Iranian regime fears that the bloggers would make news coverage of the clashes.
The clashes occurred few days after an Ahwazi Arab young man, Younes Asakereh, 34, from Mohammarah, set himself alight when the security forces confiscated his kiosk on Saturday 14th March.