An urgent distress call from Ahwaz

To those with living consciences in international political decision-making circles;

The oppressed people in Iran have risen up to condemn the policies of its terrorist ruling regime. While the spark for these protests was a sudden increase in fuel prices, the Iranian regime and the international community know very well that these protests quickly evolved into a rapidly expanding uprising for freedom, denouncing the ruling theocratic regime’s systematic corruption and murderous brutality, and condemning every aspect of its polices, whether social, political, economic, regional or international. This is an essential step for the long-suffering and viciously subjugated peoples in Iran to shake the pillars of the regime, oust its leaders and senior officials and bring them to trial in order to finally attain the freedom and democracy withheld by state terror for generations.

As expected, the criminal regime’s reaction has been typically barbaric, with security and military forces using live ammunition, tear gas, heavy artillery, and even helicopter gunships in at least one location, to kill, maim and terrorise peaceful protesters, including women and children, in its efforts to crush the demonstrations. Mass arrests are also underway. In tandem with this murderous violence towards citizens whose only ‘crime’ is to seek freedom and human rights, which is ongoing up to the time of writing, the regime has cut off the internet and other means of communication in an effort to hide its atrocities.

A few hours ago, we received reports that the Iranian regime had targeted unarmed protesters in the cities of Koura, known as Chamarn in Farsi, and Jarahi, known as Shahrak-e Mamku in Farsi, in the Ahwaz region. Regime forces used heavy machine guns against unarmed protesters and have besieged both cities with tanks, killing at least 20 Ahwazi protesters, including women, all of whom were unarmed civilians.

In this bloodbath, fierce clashes have been taking place in the Tanida neighbourhood in Jarahi city,  between unarmed protesters armed only with sticks and rocks and the heavily armed military personnel of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), assisted by plainclothes Basiji thugs and Iraqi militiamen from the Popular Mobilisation Units or Hashd al Shaabi, who are all also heavily armed by the regime with machine guns and other weapons.

The reports state that two women have been killed in the gunfire by regime forces, with one thus far identified only as the wife of Mokhtar Ataki, and the other unidentified.  Many Ahwazi citizens have also been wounded.  The dead protesters have been identified as:

  1. Ibn Abdullah Ibn Ghadban Hattawi (Ajrash)
  2. Qassim Ibn Mansour Bawi
  3. Adnan Hilali
  4. Mohammed Khaldi
  5. Mujtaba Ebadi
  6. Ahmed bin Rasoul Khawaja Bouali (Drees)

In the clashes in the city of Koura, meanwhile, a number of Ahwazis have reportedly been killed by regime forces, with four positively identified so far as:

  1. Abbas Asakera
  2. Youssef Bouabadi
  3. Mujtaba Ebadi
  4. Mansour Drees

As noted above, these horrendous events are taking place during a total media blackout imposed by the regime, which has cut off internet and communications services to Ahwaz and other areas of Iran. These incidents are in addition to earlier killings and wounding of protesters by the IRGC, Popular Mobilisation Units, Iranian police and intelligence personnel, along with hundreds of arrests.

The people of Ahwaz and the other oppressed peoples of Iran wonder why the world is turning a blind eye and deaf ear to this carnage, repeating only the regime’s very obvious falsehoods, and why the world’s governments and global organisations don’t intervene to prevent the regime from committing more crimes.

Unarmed citizen wonder what happened to “Never again” and to the promises of the UN and the USA to stand against tyranny and to support universal freedom and human rights whilst people are fighting and dying to attain those very fundamental freedoms and rights from a  wholly corrupt and tyrannical regime that spreads hatred, death and terror in Iran, regionally and internationally. Why are these powers not even intervening to demand that Iran’s totalitarian regime restore internet services, which it is withholding in order to carry out atrocities under cover of a media blackout.  The United States has declared that it has the ability to restore internet access, but it has not done so.

The 80 million oppressed peoples of Iran call on the free world, especially international media outlets, to stand up for fundamental principles and universal brotherhood and to report on the developments there, rather than repeating the Orwellian falsehoods of the regime’s press releases,  to send representatives and to accurately report from these areas, or at the very least ensure that reports can be transmitted so that the world can see the reality of what’s happening. International media silence further emboldens the regime to intensify its atrocities; there is no depth to which the theocratic authoritarians in Tehran will not sink to in its desperate attempts to cling to power, up to and including ethnic cleansing and genocide. This is especially the case in Ahwaz, with the regime’s anti-Arab racism making its personnel even more brutal than elsewhere, although all ethnic minorities and dissidents of all ethnicities are brutalised and persecuted.

We also wish to convey the fears and concerns of activists, as well as their urgent warning to the Arab people of Ahwaz that the Iranian regime and its criminal apparatuses are likely to target the people of the Ahwaz region more than those of any other region in Iran, based on the historical enmity and Persian supremacist ideology perpetuated by the regime towards Ahwazi Arabs, as well  other strategic and economic considerations, primarily a desire to retain control the region’s resources.  Without control over the natural resources of Ahwaz, the Iranian regime has nothing.

Based on all these factors, Ahwazi activists in the nation should be on high alert and direct their actions based on the significance of the current events. They should not allow any extremist infiltrators likely to be deployed by the regime to discredit the protests or to act as informants to permeate the ranks of the people and place them in lethal danger, as happened in Mahshour and Jarahi only a few hours before writing this.

At this very moment, the barbaric regime continues to use all its repressive forces and lethal weapons. Based on this, we urge Ahwazis not to engage in any conflict, as any effort to respond violently to the regime, which is in essence largely a heavily armed sectarian military dictatorship, is a suicide mission. Instead protesters should adopt the tactic advocated by their fellow freedom-seekers in Hong Kong and ‘be like water’, working with other dissidents in Iran and using the ebb and flow of the regime’s incursions and attacks in order to weaken the regime’s repressive force.

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