Ahwazi: Human Rights Campaigner Labelled British Spy
Rahyab News, a pro-Government Iranian news channel, has claimed that British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell works for MI6 and “Arab terrorist organizations”. This followed Mr. Tatchell’s arrest after he took part in a demonstration campaigning against the persecution of the Ahwazi Arab community in Iran.
Below is an article by Winq:
An Iranian news channel has made claims that British LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is affiliated with spy agency MI6 and Arab terrorist organisations.
Tatchell was detained by police last month when he took part in a protest outside the London office of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). The group was campaigning against the persecution of the Ahwazi Arab community, and several were detained (and later released without charge) after gatecrashing a meeting.
Rahyab News, which is pro-government, said Tatchell’s involvement shows him to be “sympathetic towards the Arab terrorist groups” they claim to be behind the protest.
“It is absurd for Rayhab News to suggest that the protest was organised by an Arab terrorist group and that I am holding a placard defending the rights of terrorists,” says Tatchell.
“Their own photo of the protest shows me with a placard that reads: ‘NIOC = Environmental destruction + human rights abuse’.
“The demonstration was in defence of Iran’s persecuted Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, who suffer grave political, economic and cultural discrimination. Their lands were annexed by Iran in 1925. They are rich in oil, yet the Arab population lives in dire poverty.”
In a press release issued by The Peter Tatchell Foundation, the 63-year-old commented on the Rahyab News article: “I am honoured and flattered that the Iranians think my efforts are worth commenting on. Clearly, they are rattled by my support for Ahwazi Arab human rights; otherwise they’d ignore me and the Arab cause.
“Similar smears are spread by the Iranian authorities and media against critical journalists and activists, including the BBC Persian Service staff.”
He added: “The Rahyab News story threatens to reveal more about what it calls the relationship between the Arab cause and the gay issue. It is encouraging that Arab campaigners seem unfazed by them highlighting my gayness and my work for LGBT rights.”
Photo Courtesy of Winq.